When litigation begins in a case, most of our Oakland County readers would expect their attorneys to be highly professional and competent in the matter for which they were hired. Everyone desires a zealous advocate in court, but sometimes "zealous" can be taken to the point of contempt.
Many of our Detroit-area readers are probably familiar with the artwork of Thomas Kinkade. His painting style spawned a huge commercial art enterprise that made him a very wealthy man. Sadly, Kinkade passed away back in April, and although he had a will at the time of his death, a dispute over some of his handwritten notations has resulted in probate litigation.
Readers in the Detroit area may be interested in a recent survey showing that just 19 percent of baby boomers feel obligated to leave their children an inheritance. But this percentage is higher than in 2005, prior to the nation's crushing economic downturn, when just 3 percent of baby boomers reported feeling obligated to pass on estate assets to heirs.
Our Detroit-area readers may be familiar with Gary Coleman, the actor who starred in the television show "Diff'rent Strokes" from 1978 until 1986. Coleman died in 2010 at the age of 42 following an accident at his home that resulted in a serious brain injury. At the time of his death, Coleman was struggling financially, but he did have a will. However, that has not stopped two women in his life from fighting to establish his intent during recent probate litigation.
Detroit-area readers may have noticed that previous posts usually mention the need for a comprehensive estate plan. Whether your goal is to avoid litigation between family members, ensure your wishes are followed in the distribution of your assets, or set up long-term care options, comprehensive estate plans can prevent an untold number of headaches.
Previous posts have mentioned that Michigan is one state making progress on the simplification of estate administration and distribution of assets. Estate administration is hard enough without having to work around complex state laws and requirements.
Oakland County residents may be familiar with the ongoing probate dispute over the estate of Rosa Parks, the well-known civil rights icon who died in 2005 with an estate valued at roughly $9 million.
Michigan residents may be aware of the challenges involved when a person inherits assets. For example, discussions of recent high-profile celebrity deaths often quickly turn to the question of who will raise the kids and get the millions. Most of these celebrities even had wills, but that does not necessarily prevent subsequent disputes over the content of those wills.
A battle over the estate of Rosa Parks has made for big news in the world of estate planning. Civil rights legend and pioneer, Rosa Parks died six years ago, but the battle over her $8 million estate continues to this day. Late last year, this blog discussed the Michigan Supreme Court's decision to overturn an earlier ruling regarding the Parks estate. But now, the Michigan Supreme Court has released the details of a confidential settlement reached between the battling parties in 2007.
As baby boomers in Michigan grow older, asset protection and estate planning matters become increasingly important, and the good news is that now is an excellent time to begin estate planning.