01 Oct: BENEFITS OF THE SECURE ACT

We had a few months to assess the regulatory response to the SECURE Act enacted in 2019. So far, it looks like the Acts’ intended benefits for small businesses and their employees remain intact. Chief among those benefits are the following: 1. Small businesses can now more easily enroll workers in “safe harbor” retirement 401(k) plans. The cap for such plans is increased from 10% to 15% of wages.2. The Act provides a maximum tax…

29 Sep: Patient Advocate Designation

The Michigan Patient Advocate Designation form is an essential component of any Estate Plan, large or small.   This form serves two essential purposes: first, it enables a person to designate who will make the critical or end of life care decisions when he or she cannot.  Most clients elect to appoint their spouse, a family member or close friend to undertake this critical role. Secondly, the planner can carefully establish guidelines for the Patient Advocate…

05 Jun: Seller Disclosure and COVID-19

As the real estate market reopens in Michigan, one issue which will arise concerns the duty of house sellers to disclose the presence of COVID-19 or other infectious diseases  on their property. The Michigan Seller Disclosure Act, MCL 565.951 et seq., (the “SDA”) is the primary statute governing the duty to disclose such hazards.  Operation of the SDA is based largely upon the Seller Disclosure Statement, which requires Sellers to respond to the specified required…

15 Apr: Remote Witnessing and Signing of Documents

The COVID-19 Pandemic has and will continue to wreak havoc on commercial and business activity here in Michigan. Until recently, one such impact has been to stifle the signing, witnessing and notarization of documents under the Governor’s various “Shelter in Place” Executive Orders. Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-41 enables remote witnessing and notarization of documents, under the specified terms.  This is a significant improvement over the current situation, where documents could be remotely signed, but…

27 Mar: Short-Term Rentals are All the Rage – Until They Are Restricted or Prohibited

Not everyone is thrilled by the recent increase in short term vacation rentals in Michigan.  Here’s an update on efforts to limit or ban such rentals in select areas.  Short-term vacation rentals are on the rise, particularly in Michigan, which features spectacular coastland on the Great Lakes, equally stunning sites on inland lakes, and properties abutting beautiful hills and forests.  Great little nearby towns abound and enhance the allure.  Popular websites such as VRBO and…

26 Mar: Benefits Of The Secure Act

The recently enacted SECURE Act accomplishes several laudable purposes.  One of the features of this Act is to expand the availability of tax-advantaged retirement accounts to small businesses and their employees.  This new law offers at least four distinct changes designed with this goal in mind: It is now easier for small businesses to enroll workers in “safe harbor” retirement 401(k) plans.  The cap for such plans is increased from 10% of wages to 15%….

25 Mar: Must A House Seller Disclose Coronavirus?

PART 2 – Contract Liability The first entry in this series highlighted the likely absence of any legal remedy under the Michigan Seller Disclosure Act when a Seller does not disclose COVID-19 or other infectious diseases in a house which is about to be sold.   Indeed, in most cases the Seller will have no such legal obligation under the Act. It thus falls to the Seller and Buyer – along with their chosen professionals –…

23 Mar: Selling With Mold In Your House

Ah, yes, the perennial issue – Mold.  As you have no doubt know, mold is everywhere.  It doesn’t take much for mold to appear in your House. A few Michigan seller disclosure cases have resolved mold issues.  Our office represented the Sellers in one of those cases.  The result of that case was consistent with our advice to the client – the Sellers need not disclose mold they fully remediated. The Buyers’ contentions that the…

22 Mar: Community Associations Are Running Amok

Subdivision and Condominium owners who believe they escaped high school politics and cliques when they graduated from those fine institutions are often in for a rude surprise later in life when they run afoul of their local Condominium or Homeowners’ Association.  The customary shenanigans are alive and well in many “Community Associations,” and they have the body count to prove it. Author Thomas Sowell hits the nail right on the head: It is hard to…

21 Mar: Employees Business Purchases

Entrepreneurs and Professionals should be careful not to overlook one potentially valuable market for sale of their business or practice: their employees. Many small business entrepreneurs poised to retire in the next several years are looking for potential purchasers of their enterprise, which often represents their life’s work (or at least a big part of it). One obvious but sometimes overlooked source of purchasers are the employees of that very business. It’s a great idea…