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By: Ed Pear and Natalie LennonBitcoin was created in August of 2008 by a programmer or team of programmers using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, who outlined the technology in a paper and registered a new domain, Bitcoin.org. To this day, no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto really is. The stated goal was to create “a new electronic cash system" that was "completely decentralized wit...Read More!
By Jerold LaxIn a 4-3 decision issued on October 2, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court limited Governor Whitmer’s authority to impose emergency regulations to deal with the COVID‑19 pandemic.The Governor had declared states of emergency under two statutes, the Emergency Powers of the Governor Act of 1945 (the EPGA) and the Emergency Management Act of 1976 (the EMA). The EMA authorized the G...Read More!
People often contact PSED to start a business after a career in corporate America. Usually, these people just want to keep it simple and want an entity that will have limited liability, meaning that creditors can’t go after their personal assets but can only go after the assets of the new entity.Read More!
Effective March 24, 2021, there’s a new presumption in Michigan law against jail or probationary sentences for persons convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses. Senate Bill 1048 (2020) is part of criminal justice reform efforts across the country providing uniform standards for the probation system and ultimately reducing the number of citizens subject to unnecessary jai...Read More!
Many criminal cases are abandoned by the prosecution prior to trial. Charges are dismissed for many reasons – including exculpatory information provided through defense investigation, the suppression of necessary evidence due to constitutional violations, and recanting or uncooperative witnesses. Prior to June 12, 2018, however, a dismissal of charges still left a lingering stain on a person’s publicly-available record in the State of Michigan.Read More!
It’s all over but the sentencing….The Kwame Kilpatrick saga will soon reach its sad, yet gratifying end. After systematically abusing the public trust while in office as mayor of Detroit, Mr. Kilpatrick will likely spend a good portion of the rest of his life in federal prison. Politicians are often cursed by the same attributes that lead them to seek office in the ...Read More!
Author: Sarah Meinhart, estate planning attorney at Pear, Sperling, Eggan & Daniels, P.C.Just as “there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” in death, no one dies without an estate plan. The State of Michigan, via the Estate and Protected Individual Code, directs how one’s probate estate will ultimately be distributed. Assets owned by the decedent requir...Read More!
Under current law, the annual gift tax exclusion is $15,000 per donor per recipient. This means an individual can make as many gifts of $15,000 to as many people as he or she chooses, free of taxes for the recipients. Annual gifts don’t reduce the lifetime exemption for federal estate tax and gift tax for individuals. Currently, the lifetime exemption is $11.7 million per individual a...Read More!
By Marty BodnarIn a previous blog, about “How to Score a Touchdown with a Living Trust” where we mentioned that funding a trust is important to scoring a “touchdown.” Let’s further discuss the funding process to get across the goal line and avoid probate.For each client, an excel spreadsheet of their assets is created. We review it with you throughout the process to ...Read More!
Written by Marty Bodnar, Estate Planning AttorneyThe COVID-19 pandemic has been an unsettling time for all of us. It has placed many restrictions on getting business done, but as the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention”. Thanks to entrepreneurs, multiple platforms for getting work done remotely have emerged to help us stay engaged with each other. The legal pro...Read More!
By Sarah MeinhartThe laws of physics play out in our world; starting with the Newton’s Third Law of Motion, “…for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The Stay Safe, Stay Home Order was no exception. As we quarantined in our homes in 2020 to prevent overwhelming our hospitals with Covid-19 cases, a reaction occurred – elective medical appointments ...Read More!
As a result of the Stay at Home, Be Safe executive order issued by Governor Whitmer in response to the Coronavirus virus people are required to stay home and quarantine. Did you know we’re still available via phone, Zoom or Skype to start a conversation about getting your affairs in order? In the past, we couldn’t sign the documents because the law requires the physical presence of two witnesses and a notary. Until now!Read More!
I often say that parents do a lot for their child during their lifetimes. The last gift that we give to them is to make sure everything we leave behind is in order. Getting your affairs in order involves preparing for your death by signing a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Trust and making sure your assets and beneficiaries are titled correctly.Read More!
“Has it been awhile since you reviewed your estate planning strategy? If so, it may require some updating based on recent changes to laws impacting your tax and retirement planning."Read More!
“The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act), signed into law on December 20, 2019, drastically changes the rules for inherited IRAs."Read More!
Congress passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (“SECURE” Act or “the Act”) implementing a major change to retirement plans, effective January 1, 2020.Read More!
Beneficiaries of individual retirement accounts may not see their inheritances for a decade under the newly passed Secure Act, and when they do get the money, they may be taxed heavily for it. Under the new retirement legislation, which was signed into law just days before Christmas, beneficiaries of inherited IRAs will need to withdraw that money within 10 years — that is, if they have access to it at all within that time.Read More!
Over the years, the primary estate planning tool for parents with a special needs child was an Amenities Trust. This trust allows parents to provide an inheritance to their child without impacting their child’s eligibility for certain government benefits.Read More!
To win football games, a team needs to score touchdowns, not just kick field goals, when it reaches the “red zone.” Kicking field goals, rather than scoring touchdowns between the 20-yard line and the end zone loses football games. In this blog, we discuss “How to Score a Touchdown with a Financial Power of Attorney” by avoiding probate court after you become incapacitated.Read More!
You have the ability to make your own medical decisions. You can accept, refuse, or stop medical treatment. If you lose the ability to make your own medical decisions, someone else will have to make those decisions for you. The good news is that you can choose the person you want to make those decisions. That person is called your “patient advocate” and you can give them information about your preferences, values, beliefs, wishes and goals that will help him or her make the decisions you want made.Read More!
Family disagreements often occur concerning funeral arrangements and the disposition of their loved one’s body or cremated remains. Until recently, if there was no surviving spouse, the decision rested on the majority of decedent’s living children. Now, in Michigan, an individual can designate a funeral representative in a document separate from a will or power of attorney.Read More!
This is a question that’s frequently asked by our clients when discussing their estate plan options. The answer depends on the facts of each case but, in general, there are good reasons to hold title in the husband’s name and wife’s name, as husband and wife, rather than in their living trust name.Property that’s in the names of both a husband and wife is considered to be ...Read More!
To win football games, a team needs to score touchdowns, not kick field goals, when it reaches the “red zone.” Kicking field goals, not scoring touchdowns, between the 20-yard line and the end zone loses football games. A living trust is used to avoid probate court. Avoiding probate saves money and time and allows an estate to be settled privately rather than through the public process of probate court. But, merely signing trust documents and doing nothing else only gets you to the “red zone.”Read More!
Wendy Alton was honored to speak with the Down Syndrome Support Team (DSST) in Saline this past Sunday about estate planning for special needs families. Many families have children that may require or presently require assistance outside of what the family can provide. This can be either while the child is still a minor, or when they become an adult. Unfortunately many of the programs require a &...Read More!
Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels is proud to announce that Andrew M. Eggan, a partner in the firm’s Ypsilanti office, has been awarded the 2014 Detroit Five Star Estate Planning Professional Award. Metro-Detroit publications Hour Magazine and DBusiness compiled the lists of attorneys based on 10 objective pieces of eligibility requirements and evaluation criteria. The prestigious Five Star...Read More!
What happens if you are divorced? Who receives the payment? What if you are divorced with children? Or unmarried with children? What then? These are all very important questions and there are some answers.Read More!
On March 23, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Michigan Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 which was a “Stay Home-Stay Safe” order requiring Michigan residents to shelter in place and restrict travel. The Order was scheduled to expire on April 12, 2020, however, the Order may be extended and Governor Whitmer indicated on April 6, 2020 that an announcement may be coming shortly.Read More!
Divorces can be expensive, especially when one spouse has to conduct extensive discovery, or in other words, send the other spouse numerous requests for information about their income and assets. While some spouses openly share this type of information, some don’t, and the lack of sharing information can be one of the leading causes of higher attorney fees.Read More!
Our clients raise this question for various reasons. They could be inquiring because they are not getting along and don’t want their spouse to receive anything from their estate when they pass away. It could be that the parties have a pre-nuptial agreement or a financial plan in place that the client wants to make certain is not subject to change by the spouse after the client dies.Read More!
One of the most frequent questions our divorce clients ask is: “Does spousal support automatically ends if the person receiving support remarries?” The law states that unless you agree to other terms in your divorce judgment, a remarriage is considered a change in circumstances. The court may terminate spousal support if the person receiving support remarries.Read More!
You are engaged to be married, and have either bought or received a beautiful (expensive) engagement ring. Unfortunately, something happens to destroy the pre-wedding bliss and the wedding is called off for good. If the marriage never happens, who gets the engagement ring? The courts in Michigan have answered unequivocally: the person who gave the ring in anticipation of the marriage.Read More!
Common law marriage is the term for a “marriage” that exists solely by agreement and by cohabitation. More simply, a common-law marriage exists when two people agree to live together to be “married.” Common-law marriage is one of the fundamental rights that has existed in this country since the first settlers. In 1838, Michigan passed a law that stated that “marriages may be solemnized by any justice of the peace in the county in which he is chosen, and they may be solemnized throughout the state by any minister of the gospel who has been ordained.”Read More!
A common misperception of people going through a divorce in Michigan is that spousal support (formerly called alimony) is based solely or mostly upon a difference in income between the spouses. While it is true that the court considers income when deciding if spousal support should be awarded—income is just 1 of 14 factors that the courts review.Read More!
We often think that custody battles involve just children. However, pets are often cherished members of the family, and how divorcing couples share time with their pets is often of primary focus and concern. It is not uncommon to hear the following: “My dog is my baby.” Despite the close loving relationship we have with our family pets, they are considered personal property in Michigan—which means that a divorcing couple must come to an agreement on who is going to take the pets.Read More!
It seems like one of the biggest mysteries with family law clients is how child support is actually calculated. It is a common misperception that child support is based just on the income of both parents. While income is a factor, it is not the only consideration when child support is calculated.Read More!
In the state of Michigan, you can end your marriage by filing for one of three things: divorce, separate maintenance (legal separation), or annulment. An annulment is only granted if the marriage itself was void from the beginning or the marriage is voidable. A void marriage in Michigan is a marriage that could not have taken place legally from the beginning. What this means is that there was consanguinity, affinity, bigamy, minority, incapacity or incompetency.Read More!
One common question that is often asked is whether or not Michigan has what is called a “legal separation,” allowing a married couple to legally separate, but still remain married. The simple answer is yes, but the procedure is not so simple. Michigan has a legal action entitled “Separate Maintenance.” An action for “Separate Maintenance” is filed with the court just as a Divorce action is filed.Read More!
According to a recent study, divorced parents contribute a significant amount less toward college for their children than parents that remain married. The study was discussed in a Washington Post article, and revealed that divorced parents spend nearly 1/3 less on college expenses than married parents. Obviously this is a huge difference and disadvantage to children of divorce. What can you do as a divorced parent to ensure that college expenses remain a priority?Read More!
Forbes previously published an article titled “Protecting Your Business In a Divorce: Pre-Nuptial Agreement.” It is an excellent article, but it is also a reminder that prenuptial agreements are useful for more than just protecting a business. Prenuptial agreements are agreements made between couples who are planning on getting married. The agreements will specify what happens with their money and property if they divorce or pass away.Read More!
A small but important question is always asked of the wife during divorce proceedings: Do you want to keep your married name, or go back to your maiden name? If the attorney fails to ask the wife this question, the Judge may ask the question at the final hearing. Some women have a difficult time making this decision—especially if they have children from their marriage.Read More!
By: Harvey I. Wax, employment law lawyerThe right to receive unemployment insurance benefits after an employment relationship ends depends solely on why the relationship ended.Employers and employees commonly believe that because the employee is jobless he/she is entitled by law to receive unemployment benefits from the State. However, in many situations, that’s not true. In Michigan, there...Read More!
By: Harvey I. WaxEmployers commonly condition the hire of a new employee on their willingness to agree in writing that after leaving the job, he or she will not engage in another job or a business that is competitive with the employer’s business. While such a commitment may appear to someone who is unemployed to be no big deal, that’s normally not the case. Being subject to such an ag...Read More!
One of the most common types of inquiries I receive is from people who claim they’re victims of workplace harassment instigated by a boss, supervisor or co-worker. Their most common question is if they can put an end to the harassment and recover money damages from the harasser.Unfortunately, the situations that afford a harassed employee a right to threaten or take legal action against a h...Read More!
By: Jeremy Kennedy, Civil Litigation AttorneyWhenever someone is looking for representation on a lawsuit, whether it’s because they are considering suing someone, or they have been sued, inevitably they get to the question “So how long will this all take?” People who have never been involved in litigation seem to think a lawsuit will be done in a few weeks, maybe a few months at...Read More!
Starting January 1, 2020, litigants in civil cases in Michigan’s state courts will face significant changes in how cases are handled. The Michigan Supreme Court recently adopted changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure that will completely overhaul the discovery process in Michigan to bring it closer to the procedures in federal court. If you’re not familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure the changes could be overwhelming, but for many litigants the changes will be welcome.Read More!
One of the most common type of calls we receive comes from people who believe they’ve been defamed. Almost without exception we have to turn them away, informing them that, unfortunately, even if someone said something hurtful, it’s not defamatory. This may leave clients confused, wondering why that’s the case. Going back to the roots of the United States, the protections afford...Read More!
Few things can raise your anxiety levels faster or farther than being sued. The uncertainty of what will happen, the cost of hiring a lawyer, the apprehension of what happens if you lose, and the general unfamiliarity most people have with the legal system can intimidate many people. Because of this intimidation, it is important to know what steps you need to take to protect yourself.Read More!
We have two separate court systems in Michigan, a state court system and a federal court system. For disputes involving amounts of $5,000 or less, you can sue in state small claims court, which is usually available in each city (at the local district court) and does not require an attorney. In fact, you cannot have an attorney in small claims court. If your dispute involves amounts over $5,000 bu...Read More!
Under the Michigan Whistleblower’s Protection Act (“WPA”), an employer is subject to civil liability and penalties for discharging, threatening or otherwise discriminating against an employee because the employee reports or is about to report, a violation or suspected violation of a law, regulation or rule to a public body, unless the employee knows that the report is false, or ...Read More!
When named as a defendant in a lawsuit, the natural instinct of most people is to panic or despair. Faced with the possibility of having a judgment entered against them and the equally daunting prospect of dealing with the legal system and having to pay for an attorney even if they win, most people understandably worry about what will happen to them, their family, and their overall well-being. Ev...Read More!
The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that a local school district may adopt a policy that prohibits the possession of a firearm on school property. The outcome of the case was in doubt considering prior appellate court rulings that a municipality may not establish gun-free zones on municipal property. The basis for earlier rulings that address possession of a gun on public property is three-...Read More!
In a case of first impression, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that a series of e-mails exchanged between four members of a seven member township parks and recreation commission constituted a violation of the Open Meetings Act (“OMA”). Markel v. Mackley, 11/1/16, 2016 Mich App LEXIS 2004. The OMA requires that all meetings of a public body be open to the public.Read More!
Anyone who has participated in a local zoning controversy—whether as a property owner desiring to alter the use of a parcel, a nearby property owner displeased with the proposed change, or a governmental agency (council, planning commission, zoning board of appeals) required to resolve the issue—knows full well that these matters can arouse strong emotions.Read More!
Business owners owe a reasonable duty of care to protect customers from unreasonable risks of harm caused by hazardous conditions on a business premises. If the operator of a business fails to comply with this duty and a hazardous condition causes a customer to suffer an injury, that customer may have a personal injury claim against the premises owner. However, it can be very difficult to succeed...Read More!
By: Jeremy KennedyFor over a year, the federal and state government, along with governments in many states, put in place moratoriums on evictions to help blunt the impact of the Covid pandemic. These moratoriums, along with aid to renters and other Covid assistance, helped prevent a repeat of the mass of foreclosures and evictions that marked the Great Recession. Even though millions of people we...Read More!
By Matthew Jane, Real Estate Lawyer in Ann Arbor at PSEDOn July 17, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an important decision in Rafaeli, LLC and Andre Ohanessian v. Oakland County and Andrew Meisner that will impact county budgets and tax-foreclosure protocols. In a detailed opinion by Justice Zahara joined by 5 other justices (Justice Viviano wrote a separate concurring opinion), the c...Read More!
Both the Federal and State governments have acted to address the coronavirus crisis and its economic impact on real estate issues. Congress enacted the CARES Act, which is designed to help homeowners with mortgages, tenants, and potentially some landlords. Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer has also implemented an Executive Order that helps tenants.Read More!
Last year, the Legislature amended the 40 Year Marketable Title Act (the Act), and created a two year window during which holders of “older” property interests could preserve those interests by recording a notice of those interests with the Register of Deeds. That window ends March 29, 2021, leaving about one year left to record such a notice.Read More!
In May, PSED obtained a significant favorable ruling from Judge Kuhnke of the Washtenaw County Circuit Court on behalf of a real estate developer in a complicated dispute with a condominium association. During the housing market crash in 2008, the prior developer was not able to complete all the phases of a condominium complex and 210 unconstructed condominium units went into tax foreclosur...Read More!
Many oil and gas producers have their land surveyors out looking for properties to seismically survey in Michigan now that hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as “fracking,” has become a profitable way to extract natural gas and petroleum products from the ground. Fracking is a process whereby hundreds of thousands of gallons, and sometimes millions of gallons, of water are in...Read More!
As attorneys who frequently handle disputes arising out of residential leases, the following are the three topics we are asked about most frequently by landlords and tenants:Security deposit issues;Late fees;Repairs that the landlord must make.Each of these issues will be covered in two separate blog posts, starting with the security deposit.The Landlord and Tenant Relationships Act governs resid...Read More!
This blog post is the second of two parts that address the three of the topics that clients most frequently seek advice on in the residential landlord/tenant realm. Part 1 addressed what is commonly referred to as the Security Deposit Statute, and can be accessed here. This post will address the following: (1) late fees that a landlord can lawfully charge a residential tenant; and, (2) when a lan...Read More!
Sometimes it takes a lot of time and resources to develop a unique and successful advertising scheme. Whether your business is best known for its name, logo, or catchy phrase, a business should safeguard its hard work and intellectual property. Any individual or business can file an application with the United State Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to register its trademark and s...Read More!
Any business, whether emerging or established and looking to expand, should consider one or more trademarks to help consumers identify the source of certain goods or services. Regardless of any formal registration, trademark rights are created through their use in commerce. Therefore, it is possible for different entities to obtain trademark rights in the same trademark for diff...Read More!
The popularity of various social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter, has grown at a rate that far exceeds the ability of courts and the legislature to keep up with regulations and their interpretation. A user on any one of these applications is able to post a comment, a picture, a link or logo within seconds of its creation, becoming a potential advertiser for their own compan...Read More!
On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Bowman v. Monsanto, a very important case for U.S. patent law and just about every research and development institution in the country.The case centers on Monsanto’s patented soybeans that have been genetically modified to be resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide. According to the statem...Read More!
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