Lady Bird Deed is Estate Planning Tool

A “Lady Bird Deed” is a tool of estate planning that allows the transfer of ownership of property to an heir. It’s more official title is “enhanced life estate deed.” In Michigan, by utilizing a Lady Bird Deed, property can be passed down to direct relatives without probate or “uncapping” the property tax valuation. These are standard benefits of life trusts. What makes a Lady Bird Deed unique is the transferor’s retention of the right to sell or lease the property during his or her lifetime. As Rockford, MI Lawyer Kary C. Frank’s article, “The Search for The Lady Bird Continue Reading…

Robin Williams’ Probate Dispute Settles

After almost a year of legal wrangling, Robin Williams’ widow and his three children from former marriages settled their estate battle out of court. The high-profile probate dispute followed the death of Williams in August 2014. His legal trust spelled out the division of possessions and assets. However, his widow, Susan Schneider Williams, claimed she needed more money to maintain the house that was left in her name. She also wanted some of Robin Williams’ personal possessions that were intended to go to the children, including some items of clothing including his slippers and t-shirts. “While exact terms of the agreement Continue Reading…

Complete Estate Plan is not Just About the Money

When trying to save money, some people choose the minimum when it comes to creating a will. After all, a will’s a will, right? Not so. A thoughtful and complete estate plan will can save relatives months of heartache and expense that results when disputes go to probate court. In fact, many times probate can be completely avoided. In addition to assets, retirement funds, real estate, and valuables like art, jewelry and vehicles, a will needs to cover items of “emotional value.” Heirlooms and personal items can be distressing for family members to split after a loved-one’s death. Do-It-Yourself and Continue Reading…

Death Tax: Certain?

If nothing is certain but death and taxes, then the so-called “Death Tax” should be the gold standard for certainty.  But is it? Here’s the latest in estate tax developments. The Estate Tax is defined as, “a tax on property (cash, real estate, stock, or other assets) transferred from deceased persons to their heirs,” according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities article, “Myths and Realities About the Estate Tax” written by Chye-Ching Huang and Nathaniel Frentz. Repeal? Effective January 1, 2013, the estate tax was made “permanent.”  However, that doesn’t mean change is out of the question. “There’s Continue Reading…