Archived Articles

Commentator – Spring 2017 PDF icon (2)
Vol. 29, Issue 1

A message from Ralph Castelli
By Ralph A. Castelli, Jr.
Many very useful and important updates are contained within this edition of the Commentator…
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Exciting News in Creditor Protection
By Cynthia L. Umphrey
Over the past 20 years, I have seen my clients become increasingly more interested in protecting themselves and their families from creditors.  However, creditor protection planning had generally involved giving up all rights to the assets, moving the assets offshore (both of which come with their own set of complications and risks), or creating a domestic asset protection trust (DAPT) in a jurisdiction such as Nevada, South Dakota or Alaska. I am now happy to report that Michigan has a new law permitting the creation of Michigan DAPTs. In fact, Michigan’s DAPT law is one of the best in the country, offering convenience, flexibility and strong protection when used properly. So exactly what is a DAPT and why might you be interested?
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Why More and More People are Considering Prenuptial Agreements
By Kevin J. McGiness & Amy A. Stawski
Not long ago, prenuptial agreements were mainly considered by the wealthy or the wary – and seldom by young people entering into a first marriage. That is changing. A key factor motivating that change is the average age at which people get married…
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Special Needs Trust Update
By Brian R. Jenney
On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act (P.L. 114-255). Section 5007 of this law contains the “Fairness in Medicaid Supplemental Needs Trusts,” which added the words “the individual” to the laws governing First Party Special Needs Trusts…
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Commentator – Winter 2017 PDF icon (2)

Vol. 29, Issue 1

A message from Ralph Castelli
By Ralph A. Castelli, Jr.
In this time of change, the two things that remain certain are death and taxes.
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Appealing Taxes on Newly Acquired Property
By Jeremy R. Cnudde
Assessments cannot follow sales.  If you have ever attempted to appeal or renegotiate your property tax assessment following a recent purchase of real estate, you most likely have heard this phrase.  It is a favorite, yet often misunderstood, retort of local property tax assessors.  What does this really mean?
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Insider Trading Gap Closed
By Stuart Sinai
The Supreme Court recently took on the issue of whether leaking information even for nothing in return, i.e., making a gift of material non-public information to a relative or friend, is sufficient to support a criminal conviction of both the tipper and the tippee.
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Commentator ALERT – December 2016  PDF icon (2)

‘Tis the Season for Leaving a Legacy!
By Jeremy R. Cnudde
It’s hard to believe that December is already here and the Holiday Season has begun. We are just a few short weeks until the end of the year, and the end of your opportunity to benefit from a bit of charitable good will.
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Commentator – Fall 2016  PDF icon (2)

Vol. 28, Issue 4

Estate Planning: Wealth Transfer Advantages May Require Prompt Action
By William B. Acker
Two recent proposals would if implemented potentially greatly increase the federal tax cost of transferring wealth to sons, daughters and other beneficiaries.
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Salary Requirements Significantly Increase For Exempt Employees on 12/01/2016
By Mark R. Filipp
Employees that fit within an exemption, (typically executive, administrative and professional employees) and are paid a sufficient salary, do not have to be paid overtime under federal law.
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Employee Military Service
By Thomas L. Boyer
The rights of employees to a leave of absence for military service and to return to their jobs is governed by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA).  USERRA provides leaves of absence and reemployment rights to members of the armed forces including the National Guard and Reserves who temporarily leave their civilian jobs to perform military duty.
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Recent Changes in Adoptions
By Kevin J. McGiness and Elisabeth D. Brin
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell in the summer of 2016 was a change in how the U.S., as a whole, was to legally view same-sex marriages. As a result of this decision, the U.S. Constitution is now interpreted as requiring all states to recognize and uphold a marriage between people of the same-sex.  The logistics and overall impact of the Obergefell ruling are not easily apparent. The task of changing or reinterpreting legislation to reflect such a decision, and the case law to follow, provide a daunting task ahead for all involved. Included in that task is dealing with same-sex couple adoptions.
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IRS Viewpoint of the Tax Treatment of Crowdfunding
By Ralph A. Castelli, Jr.
I remember Professor Geoffrey Lanning in my first tax law course in law school, explaining that a base premise under the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) is that gross income includes all amounts received from any source, unless there is a specific exclusion provided elsewhere in the Code. Crowdfunding is a recent phenomenon in which one engages in the funding of a project or cause by gathering on-line contributions, many of them small, from a large group of contributors.
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Commentator – Summer 2016  PDF icon (2)

Vol. 28, Issue 3

A message from Ralph Castelli
By Ralph A. Castelli, Jr.
Every year on July 4th, we take time to celebrate and appreciate the birth of our country.  Such an exciting and great beginning is worth all the fireworks, for sure.  The U.S.A. did not just come into being from a vacuum, though.  As we know, many people put in a lot of effort, sometimes even their lives, and many other factors had to come together just so.
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The Funeral Representative Act
By Joseph P. Buttiglieri
A new law became effective in Michigan on June 27, 2016 that allows an individual to name a funeral representative.  A funeral representative is a person with the authority to make decisions regarding final arrangements and the resting place of the decedent after death.
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Six Legal Issues that Founders Must Get Right
By Richard C. Bruder
Founders must get these legal issues right, in order for their Company to have the best chance of success…
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