Protect Your Business From Former / Disgruntled Employee Claims

“In response to this increased risk, we have developed a comprehensive MIOSHA manual that addresses the areas most cited by MIOSHA inspectors.”

With the current economic climate, many businesses are having to re-evaluate their workforce and reduce the number of employees based on economic constraints. This can result in terminated employees filing complaints with various agencies regarding alleged labor violations, including MIOSHA violations. Inspections by governmental agents under MIOSHA can be very costly both in time and money to a business. In response to this increased risk, we have developed a comprehensive MIOSHA manual that addresses the areas most cited by MIOSHA inspectors. It should be noted that MIOSHA inspections do not only occur in manufacturing businesses but can occur in all types of businesses.

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If you have been divorced and are now remarried, you should take great caution in planning your estate and assets in the event of your disability or death. If you also have a child or children from a previous marriage or with someone you never married, these are all special situations that should be examined to avoid future problems. No estate plan is just that – no plan. These situations are ripe for conflict and lawsuits when someone plans poorly or not at all. We call these cases “death wars”. These cases literally drain tens of thousands of dollars out of an individual’s estate with respect to attorneys’ fees and court costs where, with a little expenditure of time and a fraction of the money, the whole war could have been avoided.
The best approach when getting married for a second time, or any time, is to see an attorney well in advance of the wedding date to discuss your situation. This is especially true when one or both of you have children from a previous marriage or relationship.

The following are the 10 most common causes of “death wars”:

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According to a 2007 census bureau survey, some 6.2% of children ages 5 – 15, a total of 2.8 million children, have disabilities. Individuals with disabilities are living longer than ever. Many disabled children will outlive their parents who support them. The Wall Street Journal published an article on October 9, 2008 titled “An Estate Plan Built for Special Needs”. The piece emphasized the need to make sure that relatives’ estate plans are coordinated. The article pointed out that often times, grandparents and parents of disabled children do not coordinate their plans which can result in a disqualification of the disabled child for certain medical and other supplemental government benefits. In addition, unless a qualified trustee or guardian and conservator are appointed in a parents’ estate plan for their disabled child, assets can be squandered by unscrupulous individuals in charge of these assets. If you have or know of anyone with a special needs child, please do not hesitate to refer them to us for a consultation and review.

Dan A. Penning

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New Gift Card Law Provides Consumer Protection, But is No Guarantee Against Loss

The gift card law as highlighted in the below article is a good effort by the state legislature to protect consumers in the state of Michigan. While the intent and content of the law is excellent, it does not protect against a situation where a consumer is holding a gift card for a bankrupt business or a business which is no longer operating. If a business discharges its liabilities in Chapter 7 and ceases to exist, the gift card will be of no value. The best practice for individuals receiving gift cards is to spend them as soon as possible.

– Dan Penning
Gift cards to last for five years thanks to new state law
Published: November 12, 2008
Michiganders will have at least five years to use the next gift card or gift certificate they receive, thanks to a new state law, effective Nov. 1. The three-bill package also prevents retailers from altering the terms or conditions of a gift card or certificate after it has been issued, prohibits inactivity and other fees, and requires retailers to accept gift cards and certificates during a special sale, closeout or liquidation.

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Post Election Estate and Tax Planning

Now that we know who our 44th president will be, the landscape has become clear as to what our income and estate tax will be like under the new administration.

Under the current estate tax law, in addition to an unlimited marital deduction resulting in no tax on the death of the first spouse, each individual has the ability to transfer up to $2,000,000.00 tax free to individuals other than a spouse with that credit increasing to $3,500,000.00 effective January 1, 2009. The current law eliminates estate tax for the year 2010 with the reinstitution of the estate tax thereafter with various reductions to the unified credit in January 2011 and thereafter.

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