Latest Blogs

 
Be the first person to recommend this.
The Michigan Court of Appeals has issued an opinion regarding the appropriateness of using probate court protective orders to obtain spousal support orders in situations where such orders impact the calculation of a nursing home resident’s Medicaid “patient pay amount.” The outcome is 80% good for planners, and as such is a refreshing break from the series of punishing COA opinions that have been issued in recent years with respect to Medicaid planning cases. The case, In re Estate of Joseph VamSach Jr . , and   In re Estate of Jerome R. Bockes . is published, lengthy and involved.   For the uninitiated, a “patient pay amount” is the portion of a person’s ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
The 2012 Netflix documentary Somm recently uncorked the world of wine exams for me. Somm follows four American wine professionals preparing for the Court of Master Sommelier exam. While I watched the four men tirelessly and obsessively study for the exam, I was sent back to the days leading up to my bar exam. In order to become a Master Sommelier , one must have successfully passed all four examinations: (1) Introductory Sommelier Course and Exam, (2) Certified Sommelier Exam, (3) Advanced Sommelier Course and Exam, and (4) Master Sommelier Diploma Exam.  The Master-level exam is invite-only. In order to apply, applicants must pass the first ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Here’s a hypothetical (loosely based on true event s ) for you: Pat and Cameron are struggling to start a family. They have gone through two grueling years of fertility treatments at Hope Clinic. Their insurance does not cover the treatments, so the couple has spent $22,000 on medicine, doctor visits, and procedures. Their first attempt at in-vitro fertilization recently failed, but they paid a monthly fee to store the remaining viable embryos in Hope’s on-site freezer. Just as Pat and Cameron were preparing to go forward with the frozen embryos, the freezer failed and all of the eggs and embryos were lost. Pat and Cameron don’t have the money or the emotional ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
A proposal slated for the ballot this November would legalize marijuana in Michigan. If the ballot initiative passes, people 21 or older will be allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana and store up to 10 ounces in their homes. An excise tax of 10 percent, in addition to the existing 6 percent sales tax, would be levied on marijuana sales. The tax revenue, after allocation of a portion to a Marijuana Regulation Fund, would be allocated as follows: 35 percent to the school aid fund for K-12 education 35 percent to the state transportation fund for the repair and maintenance of roads and bridges 15 percent to municipalities with a marijuana retail ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Judge David M. Murkowski, Chief Judge, Kent County Probate Court The Honorable David M. Murkowski was appointed to the Kent County Probate Court in 2006 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Janet A. Haynes. Before his appointment, Judge Murkowski specialized in criminal defense, juvenile neglect and delinquency, and probate law, and he served as managing partner of Dilley, Dilley, Murkowski & Goller. Before working in private practice, Judge Murkowski served as law clerk to the Michigan House of Representatives Civil Rights Committee. The Michigan Supreme Court appointed Judge Murkowski to serve as the chief judge of the Kent ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
In January we filmed a studio seminar on virtual assistants and how they are already changing the way lawyers do business. With this in mind, I attended the annual ABA Tech show in Chicago, actively looking at what is out there for voice assistants. I really admire how some lawyers are thinking out of the box and developing technology designed to make practitioners more productive, more accurate, and, ultimately, more successful. There are thousands of third-party “skills” developed for the Echo ( and more on the way, likely following an Apple App store model .) Some skills I have activated are handy and fun (Daily Tech Headlines, The Daily Stoic, Guided ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
If you're charged with retail fraud in Michigan, the prosecutor doesn't trust you. The allegation is you stole something from a store, and the prosecutor will assume you were finally caught after years of stealing from multiple stores.   This may or may not be true, but it really doesn't matter, because there is no way to show this isn't the truth; perception runs wild, because the prosecutor can't imagine stealing in their own life as they've kept a straight arrow lifestyle to go on to prosecute cases for a living. This is a crime of fraud, theft and dishonesty and it puts you in a negative light to the government.   Prosecutors also assume these cases ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Law Day is a nationwide celebration of the rule of law and how the legal process contributes to the freedoms that all Americans share. American Bar Association (ABA) President Charles Rhyne conceived the idea in 1957 while watching reports of the Soviet Union’s displays of military might during its annual May Day celebration . He felt that Americans should establish a day to celebrate the rule of law as opposed to the rule of force. President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Law Day Proclamation in 1958. On April 7, 1961, Congress designated May 1 as “Law Day, U.S.A.” The goal of Law Day is to cultivate a deeper understanding of the law. The ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
​It is estimated that over 60,000 vehicles travel US 23 between Ann Arbor and Brighton during rush hour. Traffic congestion and delays were normal in years past. In November 2017, after one torturous year of construction, the new flex lane system opened between M-14 and M-36 on US 23 to the north of Ann Arbor. It is the first of its kind in Michigan and it is amazing. The time for my eight-mile commute to ICLE has shortened dramatically. What used to take 35 to 40 minutes now takes 15 to 20 minutes. The typical solution for traffic congestion, adding additional lanes, is not always an option. Flex lanes have been used for years on city streets where widening ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
​ Exonerations are on the rise thanks in part to the work of innocence clinics . Nationwide, there was a record-setting 166 exonerations in 2016. In 2017, there were 139 . Michigan addressed this trend last year by passing the Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act , entitling a wrongfully convicted person to sue the state for compensation. If the plaintiff in such a case meets his or her burden, the court must award compensation that includes $50,000 for every year of imprisonment. MCL 691.1755(2). This past year, SCOTUS addressed the broader question of what states must do with court costs, fees, and restitution connected to an overturned conviction. ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Judge Joyce A. Draganchuk Ingham County Circuit Court Lansing, Michigan   Judge Joyce A. Draganchuk is the presiding judge of the General Trial Division as well as a Business Court judge of the Ingham County Circuit Court. Before her election to the bench in 2004, she served in the Ingham County prosecuting attorney's office for 16 years and was the chief assistant prosecutor from 2001 to 2004. Judge Draganchuk is a member of the State Bar of Michigan, the Ingham County Bar Association, the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan, the American College of Business Court Judges, the Ingham County Bar Foundation, and the Michigan State University ...
0 comments

Ford v Cena

Be the first person to recommend this.
By my count, I’ve owned 10 cars in my life. Sadly, I have yet to be selected by any car manufacturer to receive the “privilege” of owning a limited edition supercar. Truth be told, I’ve never actually applied, and you have to play to win. But Ford’s recent selection process for the 2017 GT wasn’t actually random, and I’m not a famous car vlogger anyway. John Cena, mostly of WWE fame among other things, has a car vlog and was selected by Ford to get one of the 500 GTs Ford was going to make for 2017. There was a catch: he could not sell the car for a full two years after purchase. This strikes me as a somewhat strange condition to place on the purchase of ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
As most people know by now, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Pub L No 115-97, 131 Stat 2054 (2017 TCJA) recently passed. The 2017 TCJA is a sweeping tax reform law that will change the tax landscape, encompassing significant changes related to corporate and individual income taxes and estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes. The TCJA doubles the base estate and gift tax exemption amount from $5 million to $10 million for estates of decedents dying, as well as gifts made, after December 31, 2017, and before January 1, 2026. In addition to doubling the exemption amount, the TCJA changed the way the amounts are indexed for inflation. The TCJA ...
0 comments

Emoji Invasion

Be the first person to recommend this.
“This tastes like one billion smiley faces!” That was my five-year-old’s recent review of the tacos his dad made for dinner. While it was surely an adorable sentiment, it also gave me pause. Are we so dependent on emoji for our everyday expression that we even use them orally in the place of descriptive words?! The undeniable fact is that emoticons and emoji are making their way into everything, including the legal profession. Lawyers and judges should take notice, because the emoji are just getting warmed up. At work, attorneys are wondering whether using emoji and emoticons with their clients or colleagues is appropriate. At least one study has found ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
I’ve written many times about apps that can make your law practice just a bit easier. But sometimes the best tools are the old-fashioned kind: pen and paper. Bullet journaling is a system for rapid logging to keep track of tasks, events, and notes. Bullet journaling has taken off, if the sheer number of Facebook groups dedicated to talking about bullet journals is any indication. Not surprisingly, lawyers are getting in on the bullet journal action. After all, lawyers have a lot of tasks and events to keep track of, so it seems a natural fit. The basic idea is to note events (such as hearings or depositions) with an empty circle bullet ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
In fiscal year 2017, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) conducted 30,200 inbound and outbound border searches of electronic devices, compared to only 19,051 in fiscal year 2016. CBP agents reviewed all sorts of files, such as photos, social media messages, e-mails, and other private files on travelers’ computers, tablets, disks, drives, tapes, mobile phones, cameras, and media players. Lawyers have been legitimately concerned about this seemingly unfettered access to their devices as they return to the United States, especially information protected by the attorney-client privilege. In May 2017, the American Bar Association (ABA), in a letter to the ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
​ Judge Christopher P. Yates, Kent County Circuit Court Specialized Business Docket The Honorable Christopher P. Yates was appointed to the Kent County Circuit Court in 2008 and has served in both the Criminal/Civil Division and the Family Division. He was assigned to run the court's specialized business docket in 2012. Judge Yates is the immediate past president of the Grand Rapids Bar Association. Before his judgeship, he served as a law clerk to Chief Judge James P. Churchill of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan and to Hon. Ralph B. Guy, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Yates also has worked ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
Medicaid's right of reimbursement from tort and worker's compensation settlements and awards was limited again recently. In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision of Arkansas HHS v Ahlborn , 547 US 268, 126 S Ct 1752 (2006), limited Medicaid's lien to just the portion of an award or settlement that represented money paid for past medical expenses. Congress responded bypassing the 2013 Budget Act that included language that would empower state Medicaid agencies to assert liens against entire settlements or awards, regardless of what those monies represent. Congress, however, repeatedly delayed the effective date of this legislation overturning the Ahlborn ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
President Donald J. Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017 . This is the most expansive reform of the U.S. tax code since 1986. Major changes include the following: The corporate tax has been cut from 35 percent to 21 percent. The standard deduction is nearly doubled. Personal exemptions have been eliminated. The child tax credit is nearly doubled. The tax reform will have a significant impact on family law practitioners. Previously , alimony payments to a former spouse were treated as a tax deduction for the payor and as income to the recipient. As a result , “income was often shifted for a recipient in a lower tax ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
This past September, at the NEXT Conference (formerly known as the Solo and Small Firm Institute), Barron Henley once again offered his “60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes” presentation, in which he delivered lightning fast reviews of the latest software, apps, and gadgets. Here are some of the highlights: Grammarly : Grammarly is a plug-in that will check your grammar wherever you write. You can use it with Microsoft products to proofread your e-mails and documents as you write them. You can use it as a Chrome extension and it will check your writing on Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. There are both free and premium versions. Logitech MX Master ...
1 comment