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Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105
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.The Act expands the options for you to save for retirement, but in the process, it greatly impacts estate plans by eliminating the stretch IRA. The stretch IRA allowed a beneficiary of an i...Read More!
As a service to our clients, we occasionally share helpful articles on topics that may be useful for you. We found this article and wanted to help educate our clients when it comes to estate planning. If you want to learn more about protecting your inheritance contact Marty Bodnar at (734) 665-4441 for a consultation. By: Alessandra Malito, MarketWatch.comBeneficiaries of individual retireme...Read More!
PSED Law is proud to announce that it has been named to the State Bar of Michigan’s 2019 Pro Bono Circle of Excellence at the Leadership level. The Circle of Excellence recognizes firms that have exhibited a strong commitment to pro bono services in the last year. PSED Law is one of approximately 35 firms throughout the entire state to be named to the Circle at the Leadership level, the hig...Read More!
Marty Bodnar has been appointed to the Executive Committee of Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County (CSSW) and named Secretary of the Board of Directors. The executive committee consists of the board chair and officers of CSSW. The committee supervises and controls the management of affairs between full board meetings and in urgent situations. The executive committee also ov...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.During the Obama administration, the federal government added another tool for parents with a special needs child called the Achieve A Bet...Read More!
Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. has been named a Tier 1 firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan for Land Use & Zoning Law and Litigation in Municipal Law by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in 2020.U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. To be...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. It coul...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 C...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. MCL 552.13. It&rsqu...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...Read More!
Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels was recently pleased to learn that the Michigan Attorney General’s Office had decided that it was dropping all charges against a PSED client, Dr. Eden Wells. Dr. Wells, the former Chief Medical Officer in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, had been charged as part of the investigation arising out of the Flint water crisis, and was represe...Read More!
PSED successfully defended Allied Fence against claims by Pittsfield Township that Allied violated the zoning ordinance by selling Christmas trees on property located on Carpenter Road near Ellsworth Road.Allied has used a fenced-in enclosure in its front yard for more than 30 years to sell a variety of retail products. When Pittsfield changed its zoning ordinance to prohibit sales activity in th...Read More!
In a case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently upheld the dismissal of a case against the Michigan Neonatal Biobank and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, which sought to declare Michigan’s program of screening newborns for chronic diseases and genetic disorders unconstitutional. Attorneys Jeremy Kennedy and Jerry Lax of Pear Sperl...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 a...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!
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. The designa...Read More!
Tom Daniels has joined the Board of Directors of Growing Hope and will also serve on the agency’s Development Committee.Growing Hope is an Ypsilanti-based non-profit organization that operates the Ypsilanti Farmer’s Market and a thriving urban farm only blocks from downtown Ypsilanti. Growing Hope provides garden-based nutrition education at its farm and in local classrooms, and suppo...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!
Marty Bodnar joins Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County as a member of their Board of Directors. Mr. Bodnar will serve on the finance and quality committees. Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County helps assist the community with programs like counseling for young pregnant mothers, behavioral health, and substance abuse treatment. They also help the local community with a f...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!
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!
The Washtenaw County Bar Association held its Award Dinner & Election. Scott Munzel, was elected to serve a two-year term on the WCBA’s Board of Directors. Scott has been a member of WCBA since 1999 and was previously Chair of the Real Estate Section. Scott practices law in the areas of real estate law, zoning and land use law, and municipal law.Also at the dinner, Ed Pear a...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!
By Tom Daniels – 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. A meet...Read More!
By Marty Bodnar – 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 th...Read More!
By Jeremy Kennedy – 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 protec...Read More!
By Wendy Alton 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 marri...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!
By Wendy Alton 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 m...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. Indeed, a whole...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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
By Wendy Alton 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. In deciding whether or not spous...Read More!
We have all read those “miscellaneous provisions” portions of contracts. Those are the portions of the contract where all of the random, seemingly uninteresting provisions are found. Often those provisions include things like choice of law, jurisdictional standing, merger and integration and the like. They can also include substantive issues, such as limitations of warranty and liquid...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!
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...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!
On July 1, 2013, seventeen Michigan counties will begin accepting filings in their Business Court divisions. Late last year, the Michigan Legislature passed a law requiring any Michigan circuit court with three or more judges to begin a docket for a business court to deal with business or commercial disputes. These cases will include any dispute involving a business enterprise. ...Read More!
By Wendy Alton 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. In Michigan, the following is a standard list of items considered to calculate child ...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!
By Wendy Alton – 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 i...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...Read More!
By Wendy Alton – 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 divorc...Read More!
Three attorneys at Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. have been awarded the prestigious “Superlawyer” peer review designation.PSED Law is proud to announce that three of its attorneys were voted by their peers onto the 2013 Michigan Superlawyers list. For the year September 2013 – September 2014, Thomas Daniels and Jerold Lax were chosen by their peers as Michigan Superlawy...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!
Ann Arbor, MI – Four attorneys at Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. have been awarded the prestigious “Superlawyer” peer review designation. PSED Law is proud to announce that four of its attorneys were voted onto the list of Michigan Superlawyers for the 2012 year, which runs from September 2012 – September 2013) by their peers. These four attorneys join Edwin Pear, the long-time mana...Read More!
PSED Law is proud to announce that Jerry Lax has been named to The Best Lawyers list, one of the oldest and most respected annual attorney rankings in the country. The Best Lawyers list was released on November 3, 2014, and recognizes Jerry for his outstanding work in the following practice areas: employment law for both individuals, and businesses; land use and zoning law; and litigation. Jerry ...Read More!
Ann Arbor, MI – Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. has been awarded a Tier 1 ranking in the 2013 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms”. The US News rankings feature law firms given consistently impressive performance ratings by clients and peers. Achieving a high ranking is a special distinction that signals a unique combination of excellence and breadth of expertise. The...Read More!
Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. is pleased to announce that Tom Daniels and Jerry Lax were recently named to Michigan Super Lawyers for 2014.The annual Super Lawyers list is compiled by Thomson Reuters. The rigorous multiphase selection process is made up of a nomination stage; an initial evaluation based on indicators of professional achievement; a second evaluation completed by a panel ...Read More!
PSED Law is proud to announce that it has been named to the State Bar of Michigan’s 2014 Circle of Excellence at the Leadership level. The Circle of Excellence recognizes firms that have exhibited a strong commitment to pro bono services in the last year. PSED Law is one of only 22 firms throughout the entire state to be named to the Circle at the Leadership level, the highest possible level w...Read More!
PSED Law was honored as a 2014 Business-Education Honor Roll Partner by the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber (A2Y Chamber). The A2Y Chamber, a community organization made up of local businesses, works to connect its members professionally, and to improve the local economy and the quality of life for Ann Arbor & Ypsilanti residents. The Business-Education Honor Roll is an A2Y Chamber program ...Read More!
Pear Sperling Eggan & Daniels, P.C. is pleased to announce that it has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2014 Top Ranked Law Firm. Only 2,446 law firms have achieved this ranking. Martindale-Hubbell chooses these firms by identifying U.S. law firms of 10 or more attorneys, where at least one-third of the attorneys in the firm achieved the AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating. These la...Read More!
January 29, 2015Novi, MI – Thomas Daniels presented “Overview of Recent Michigan Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Decisions of Significance to Local Government Management,” at the Michigan Local Government Management Association’s (MLGMA) Winter Institute. The MLGMA’s annual Winter Institute gives MLGMA members the opportunity to network, share ideas, and learn abo...Read More!
PSED is proud to announce that Jerry Lax has once again been named to The Best Lawyers in America list, one of the most highly regarded and widely recognized annual attorney rankings in the country. The Best Lawyers list for 2016 was released to the public on August 17th, recognizing Jerry as one of The Best Lawyers in America in the following 7 practice areas: Employment Law for Individuals and...Read More!
by Wendy Alton – 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 s...Read More!
PSED Law is proud to announce that the firm has been named to the 2015 U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms” list. Released on November 3, 2014, the “Best Law Firms” ranking recognizes law firms that demonstrate professional excellence, and consistently receive high ratings from clients and other lawyers. The ranking is based on an evaluation process that includes ...Read More!
By Wendy Alton – 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...Read More!
Ann Arbor, MI – Wendy Alton was recently contacted by Patrick Clarke of ABC News to provide commentary on proposed Senate Bill 896, currently being processed through the Michigan Legislature. She was quoted in his article, “Michigan May Repeal Old Law Against Unmarried Living Together” on May 11, 2016. The article can be accessed at http://abcnews.go.com/US/michigan-repeal-law-u...Read More!
April 26, 2015 Dearborn, MI – Wendy Alton spoke at the University of Michigan-Dearborn 2015 commencement ceremony for the College of Arts, Sciences & Letters. Wendy, an alumna of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, was invited to address this year’s graduating class regarding the importance and value of mentorship. Wendy spoke alongside Michael Brown (keynote address), Benita Robinson (stud...Read More!
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Status by Todd Chawansky, Associate Attorney and Rachel A. Hobbs, CLABeing a 501(c)(3) corporation means that organization has received a tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service. In order to obtain tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must demonstrate to the IRS that the funds it receives are ...Read More!
While we’re not tax professionals, we’re paying attention to some significant tax changes that are in effect now and are also effective as of January 2019. These changes will have quite an effect on how settlements are negotiated in divorce, custody and support cases. Spousal Support/AlimonyFor divorces settled and finalized after December 31, 2018, all spousal support and ...Read More!
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