Charles H. Gross, Attorney At Law

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Real Estate

We have the most comprehensive real estate practice in Lenawee County. Our expertise includes: residential, commercial and industrial real estate transactions, leasing, zoning, conservation easements, construction contracts, property line disputes, environmental regulations, foreclosure, loan workouts, deed and title review, and negotiation of oil and gas leases. Our experience in virtually every aspect of real estate law enables us to provide cost effective and insightful counsel.

Our land development experience includes:

  • The Highlands
  • Fiddler's Cove
  • Red Mill Professional Center
  • Deer Pointe
  • Putnam Grove
  • Hidden Creek

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Real Estate

Business Law

Business Law

Our firm provides regular counsel and service to a wide range of businesses. We create LLC organizational documents, facilitate incorporation, as well as represent parties buying and selling businesses. From start-ups to existing businesses and corporations, family owned and franchised, retail, professional and agriculture we provide the legal services businesses need to succeed. Schedule an initial consulation!

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Estate Planning

A foundation 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 vast experience with estate planning will help you create the best plan for your needs. Schedule an initial consulation!

Trusts

A revocable living trust allows clients to title property in their personal trust and then maintain control through the trust during their lifetime and after. Trusts allow a great deal of discretion in the distribution of your assets to ensure its in the best interests of your beneficiaries.

Wills

Wills are the most basic estate planning document 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

Our clients often need a power of attorney, which gives someone they choose, the power to act in their place during their lifetime. We utilize what is known as a "durable"" power of attorney for both medical care and finance management.

Probate

Probate Court has jurisdiction over the transfer of assets upon death or disability. In most cases, our clients seek to avoid this court's involvement in their estate. This can be accomplished with the use of beneficiary designations, payable on death accounts, joint titles, ladybird deeds and trusts. Determining which of these documents, or combination thereof, is best for your situation is where our probate experience and knowledge of the probate code will benefit you. Our understanding of the law can facilitate quick and inexpensive settlement of cases needing probate supervision. Schedule an initial consulation!

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Bankruptcy

We have represented clients in bankruptcy matters, including Chapter 7 filings for over 30 years. We offer free consultation for our clients considering bankruptcy. Our experience enables us to provide our clients the most effective strategy for asset protection. Schedule a free initial consulation!

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Family Law

Our family law practice is limited to divorces, pre and post-nuptial agreements. We no longer handle child custody or child support issues. Schedule an initial consulation!

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Civil Litigation

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 issues, and more. We meet with clients on a regular basis to discuss their case and determine the best course of action.

Recent litigation cases include:

  • Successful settlement of a claim against Tecumseh Products, for environmental contamination of multiple residential and commercial properties.
  • Successful defense of Adrian College in a jury trial to resolve a building construction dispute.
  • Prevailed on behalf of shareholders, as part of a team of lawyers, in winning a judgment against Adrian Steel for over one million dollars, plus attorney fees

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Personal Injury

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. Schedule an initial consulation!

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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?

First decide what type of legal entity fits your business. Among the options are sole proprietorship, partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), sub S corporation or C Corporation.
Once the entity is determined, we will file with the State of Michigan and enter into the agreements appropriate to your chosen entity, such as an operating agreement. These agreements can be simple or complex depending on how many individuals are involved and their relationships.

Estate Planning How long is my power of attorney valid?

The party you are presenting the document to has the discretion to decide how current the document must be. Most powers for financial matters will be acceptable for several years. Medical powers of attorney or patient advocate forms typically are acceptable indefinitely.

Estate Planning Do I need a trust?

Probate avoidance is the primary reason to have a trust. Avoiding probate can 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 and they work in conjunction with payable on death accounts and lady bird deeds. Using a combination of estate documents is often the most efficient way to pass assets to your beneficiaries. Everyone's situation is unique; the interesting part of estate planning is finding the right plan for each client.

Probate How long does it take to probate an estate?

The legal 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 2-4 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 can take much longer.

Bankruptcy Should I file for bankruptcy?

Ask yourself the following:

  1. Are you borrowing from one credit card to pay another?
  2. Have you borrowed from your 401k or retirement account to pay monthly expenses?
  3. 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 bankruptcy chapter should I file?

This is determined by your monthly income. If it is below the median income for a family your size you will file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If it is more you are a candidate for a Chapter 13 filing. In most cases a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will eliminate your unsecured debt and allow you to keep your home, vehicles and personal property.

Under a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will be required to propose and abide by a plan to repay some or all of your unsecured debt over a 3 to 5 year period.

The following table shows median family income by family size.

Family Size 1 2 3 4
Income 44,504 53,640 62,973 76,622
As of 2/25/15

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?

Yes!

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.