I’m getting married for the second time and both my new husband and I have adult children. Is there anything different I need to do with my estate planning?

Yes. We see more and more “blended families” (marriages where each spouse has children from a prior relationship). You must take special steps to make sure you take care of each other, but also provide for your children after you are gone (if that’s your goal). This can be quite complicated. For example, what if… Read More »

What is included in Child Support?

Question: I pay about $3,000 in child support each month and my oldest just started college. I pay $1,000 per month to the school toward tuition and room and board. Can I deduct this payment from the child support and pay only $2000? Answer: In Michigan the answer is no in most cases. Because the… Read More »

My father is 81 and was diagnosed with dementia/Alzheimer’s. He is still okay but I can tell his memory is starting to get worse. My mother also has health issues and can take care of him now, but I can see a time in the near future where she won’t be able to take care of him 24/7. Is there any special planning they need to do?

Yes, you should make sure both your parents have a written estate plan in place that covers incapacity and transfer of their assets after they are gone. This is generally going to be a Durable Power of Attorney (for handling finances), a Patient Advocate Designation (for carrying out medical wishes), and a Will or Living… Read More »

I would like to leave my grandson some money in my Will, but he has a disability and I worry that it may affect the benefits he receives from the government.

You must plan very carefully in this situation because an inheritance may disqualify your grandson from receiving benefits. Many government programs are “needs based”, which means they count all assets in deciding whether a person qualifies. You may have heard of a “Special Needs Trust” (sometimes called a “Supplemental Needs Trust”). It is a special… Read More »

I am going in for surgery next month and I was wondering what kind of planning should I do beforehand?

Great question. You should have at least a “base” estate plan in place. This covers three major areas: (1) incapacity, (2) wealth transfer, and (3) beneficiary protection. First, you need to put someone in place for financial and medical decisions if you can no longer handle your affairs. Be very careful here – many times… Read More »

My daughter was hurt in a car accident when she was 10 years old. She is now 14 and needs surgery. Her doctor thinks that she needs the surgery due to the car accident. Is it too late to sue the other driver? The accident was the other driver’s fault, if that matters.

No, it is not too late. Generally, the rule is that the statute of limitations for an automobile accident is three years. However, there is an exception to this rule for minors. A person under the age of 18 has one year from his or her 18th birthday to bring a lawsuit even if the… Read More »

My Ex is trying to register the kids for summer camp and at a time that will interfere with my summer parenting time. This is a problem every year. Can I file my own motion to deal with this or do I need to have a lawyer?

Issues like this come up a lot, particularly at this time of year when summer plans are being made. Certainly you can file a Motion on your own but often it takes a long time for Motions to get through the system, particularly when you don’t have a good handle on how these things are… Read More »

How is Child Support calculated?

There are a number of different factors used to determine how much the child support obligation will be. First and foremost are are the incomes of the parties and the number of overnights that the children will spend with each parent over the year. Other factors are the amount paid for day care (if a… Read More »