Estate Planning

Aretha Franklin’s fortune and the note in the couch.

Posted in Estate Planning, Probate

When Aretha Franklin died late in the summer of 2018, many in the estate planning community were disappointed and surprised to learn that she did not have any estate plan in place. Forget the trusts, partnerships, and other entities that sometimes provide better planning and protection to the wealthy – she didn’t even have a last will and testament. With an estate estimated to be $17 million, Franklin appeared to have never done any planning to protect and distribute her assets at death. Once the initial disbelief wore off, people were comforted to know that Michigan statutes...

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There’s no such thing as an adult being “too young to need a will.”

Posted in Estate Planning

Picture a client coming to our office to create a last will and testament. Picture them coming in, sitting down with one of our attorneys, and having a discussion about planning for their death and potential incapacity. How old is the person you are imagining? If you are like most people, you are thinking of a retired person with gray hair and grandchildren. That is who most people think “needs” a plan, and that is who we see most often. But sometimes a client comes in that defies the stereotype. Sometimes the clients are a young couple with small kids crawling on their laps, coloring on...

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“Why would they buy property from themselves?”

Posted in Estate Planning, Probate

  Have you ever looked at the property transfer records in your local newspaper? If so, you have probably come across a transfer of from a husband and wife to themselves. Many people wonder why a couple would go through the process of transferring property to themselves, mistakenly thinking they are somehow “buying property from themselves.”   What they are usually doing is making a new deed that will operate differently at death. Ohio law allows for a couple of different types of joint ownership. Traditional “joint tenancy” has each spouse owning half of the...

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