Excellent Legal Representation
– S. Whitehouse
Real Estate & Business Law
We have the most comprehensive real estate practice in Lenawee County. Our expertise includes: residential, commercial and industrial real estate transactions. We handle leasing, zoning, conservation easements, construction contracts, property line disputes, evictions, environmental regulations, foreclosure, loan workouts, deed and title review, negotiation of oil and gas leases and more.
Our firm provides regular counsel and service to a wide range of businesses. We create LLC organizational documents, facilitate incorporation, and maintain annual corporate filings. We represent parties buying and selling businesses. We provide a variety of services for both start-ups and existing businesses.
Estate Planning & Probate
A significant part of our practice is estate planning, which includes a wide variety of services to facilitate the transfer of your assets upon death and asset protection during your lifetime. Proper planning avoids probate court and unnecessary estate taxes. Each client's circumstances and needs are different. Our experience with estate planning will help you create the best plan for your needs.
A revocable living trust allows you to title property and hold assets in your personal trust, then maintain control of these assets during your lifetime and after. Trusts allow a great deal of discretion in the distribution of assets to ensure it is done in the best interests of your beneficiaries.
Wills are the most basic estate planning tool and something everyone needs. Your will clearly informs the court to whom your assets should pass, in what manner, and designates your personal representative.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney, which gives someone you choose, the power to act on your behalf during your lifetime. We utilize what is known as a "durable"" power of attorney for both medical care and financial management.
The Probate Court has jurisdiction over the transfer of assets upon death or disability. Our understanding of probate law and local courts can facilitate efficient settlement of cases needing probate supervision.
Bankruptcy & Family Law
Our bankruptcy experience provides our clients the most effective strategy for asset protection and financial relief. Bankruptcy law offers an opportunity for individuals and couples to get their credit and their lives back on track for a more productive future.
Our family law practice includes divorces, adoptions and pre and post-nuptial agreements. Currently we are not taking child custody or child support cases.
Litigation & Personal Injury
We bring a wealth of trial experience in probate, circuit and districts courts when advocating for our clients. Our litigation practice has included: real estate and business disputes, personal injury, property tax appeals, collections, zoning and more.
If you or your property is injured or harmed because of someone's act or failure to act we can assist you in seeking damages. Personal injury law, also known as tort law, is designed to protect you. We have successfully settled numerous claims brought by our clients seeking compensation for their loss. If your claim is outside of our expertise we will refer you to the best possible attorney for your injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
Real Estate How much do you charge for a purchase agreement?
Depending on the complexity of the purchase and the issues involved the price can range from $225 to $600. Typically we prepare a purchase agreement in 24-48 hours. We also draft and review land contracts, leases, easements, deeds and other real estate documents.
Real Estate Should I sell my property using a land contract?
Land contracts can be a great arrangement for both the seller and buyer. Sellers get what is essentially a secured loan with a good rate of return. Currently that rate is 4-6%. Buyers get inexpensive financing which in many cases, is financing a bank would not provide.
Business Law I'm starting a new business, what do I need to do?
Decide on what type of legal entity fits your business. Depending on the number of individuals involved and their work relationship, the options are sole proprietorship, partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), sub S corporation or C Corporation. Once the entity is determined, paperwork is filed with the State of Michigan and you enter into the agreements appropriate to your chosen entity.
Estate Planning How long is my power of attorney valid?
Most powers for financial matters are acceptable for several years. Medical powers of attorney or patient advocate forms are typically acceptable indefinitely.
Estate Planning Do I need a trust?
Probate avoidance is the primary reason to have a trust. Avoiding probate will minimize estate expenses and simplify the asset distribution process for your estate administrator (trustee) and beneficiaries. We also create wills for our clients, because of the minimal expense. They can work in conjunction with payable on death accounts and ladybird deeds. When is comes to estate planning, what works for you depends on your unique family and financial situation.
Probate How long does it take to probate an estate?
The process of administering the estate of a deceased person is designed to be deliberate given the nature of the task. We generally have letters of authority in 4 weeks and are able to oversee asset distribution in 4-5 months. In some cases, where there are disputes between beneficiaries, or real estate must be sold, the process may take longer.
Bankruptcy Should I file for bankruptcy?
Ask yourself the following:
- Are you borrowing from one credit card to pay another?
- Have you borrowed from your 401k or retirement account to pay monthly expenses?
- Could you realistically reduce your unsecured debt (credit card bills, medical expenses, etc.) to zero in the next 6 to 12 months?
If you answered "yes" to questions 1 and 2, or "no" to question 3, you should schedule a consultation with us. There is no charge for these consultations. We find most of our bankruptcy clients should have filed two to three years before they actually do.
Bankruptcy What can I keep?
Generally, you keep your assets, including your home, vehicle, personal property and retirement accounts.
Bankruptcy Will I still have credit?
Yes, in most cases your credit actually improves after filing and you will likely begin to receive applications for new credit cards by mail. Your credit improves because you have eliminated debt and your creditors know you cannot file bankruptcy again for eight (8) years.
Family Law I'm considering a divorce and need help.
Divorce can be a complicated process. In your first consultation with us we lay out the legal steps in simple terms and identify key life decisions you'll be facing.
Family Law Do you handle adoptions?
Civil Litigation Do I have a cause of action?
If you or your property has been harmed, or someone has breached an agreement or violated your rights, you have grounds for a lawsuit.
Civil Litigation Should I pursue legal action?
You must ask yourself; can I prove the damages and is the person or company I want to sue collectible? If so, we will work to get you compensation for your damages. In cases where the damages are minimal (under $10,000) or the named party is uncollectable we suggest bringing the case to small claims court or we can to help you settle the matter peacefully outside the judicial system.
Personal Injury What experience do you have with personal injury cases?
We have successfully pursued claims for injuries arising out of auto accidents, wrongful death, slip and fall, dog bites and other claims. In cases where more expertise is required we will refer you to an acknowledged expert in their field; not just someone who spends lavishly on advertising.
Customer Service What do I need to bring to my appointment?
We advise our clients of all documents and paperwork needed when scheduling their appointment. We provide our estate planning clients with a worksheet that guides them through the necessary decisions to be made when establishing their estate.
"He is hands down the person you want on your side"
– B. Beil