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Westland Legal Blog

Candy shop sues over soured real estate deal in Lansing

A federal lawsuit claims that a real estate enterprise stalled its development operations at a commercial real estate location Lansing Township. Allegedly, the real estate company, which the lawsuit claims was "illegal and fraudulent," delayed operations due to a conflict of interest.

Mimi's Sweet Shop, the company that filed the lawsuit through the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, says that two individuals connected with Lansing Township's Eastwood Downtown Development Authority delayed operations to give preferential treatment to other companies that were connected to them.

Basketball star Lebron James in trademark war

International basketball star LeBron James has recently become embroiled in a trademark dispute because of his barbershop video series. The creator of "The Social Club," another barbershop video series, claims that James and his company, Uninterrupted, stole the idea of a barbershop-based talk show from him.

According to the plaintiff, Adventure Enterprises, James' show, "The Shop," directly stole the unique concept for "The Social Club," which is "a dual-purpose barbershop and content studio whose mission, in addition to providing haircuts, is to support cultural discussion, building community, personal growth, and diversity."

Is it time to update your estate plan?

The last thing you want to do as an estate planner is to create your will and estate plan, then file it away and never look at it again. You should review your estate planning papers at least every five years, and preferably on an annual basis. Changes to your family and needs, and changes to state and federal estate laws, can all have an effect on your current estate plan and necessitate some changes.

Take the new estate planning rule relating to federal estate tax exemptions that went into effect in 2018 for example. The current estate tax exemption, as of 2018, is a whopping $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples. This means that if you previously employed a mix of qualified terminable interest property trusts, credit-bypass trusts or life insurance trusts to minimize your estate tax burden due to it being over the old exemption levels, you might not need to take these elaborate measures anymore.

Financial concerns for women during divorce

Women and men are equal under the law, but that doesn't mean they have the same concerns, and that doesn't mean they're always treated equally by society. In some situations, one or the other sex has the advantage. When it comes to financial issues, women often face more challenges than their male counterparts -- this is true especially after getting a divorce.

Financially speaking, divorce tends to affect women more negatively than it does men. In fact, marriage brings various financial advantages to women. Married females tend to have a 20 percent higher income than never-married, widowed, separated and divorced females. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Married women also earn almost 10 percent more than unmarried men.

When single parents want to vacation with their children

It's time to start planning for your next summer vacation, and if you're a single parent, it means you may need to check in with the other parent of your child before you finalize your plans.

In order to make sure your summer vacation is a success, you may also want to consider the following:

  • Plan as far in advance as possible: No matter how well you get along with your ex, it's possible that the two of you will get into a disagreement about your travel plans. As such, the further ahead you plan, the more likely you can resolve any kind of disagreements that could arise. The last thing you want is a last-minute disagreement that interrupts your plans and ruins your vacation.
  • Be clear and communicate all the details: Make sure your ex knows everything about your travel plans, such as having a copy of your plane tickets, hotel reservations and other information. Also, be sure that you provide contact information to your ex throughout your trip so that he or she can get in touch with your children.
  • Get permission: Make sure you have permission if you plan to travel out of state or to another country. Make sure you understand your legal obligations in terms of your child custody orders and other information.
  • Make your checklist: Create an action plan of things you need to accomplish before your trip. Do you need to have copies of your child's health insurance for a trip overseas? Do you need to get your child's medications in order before your trip? Make a list and cover all of your bases in this regard.

How is the collaborative law process unique?

Most divorcing spouses have heard of the benefits of divorce mediation, but not all of them have been introduced to the concept of collaborative law. This advanced form of dispute resolution was actually created with marital conflicts in mind. A team of family law attorneys from Minnesota perfected the collaborative law process in the 1990s to help facilitate the swift, respectful and cost-effective settlement of their clients' divorces.

This process is different from normal mediation because the parties who participate must sign a written commitment to arrive at a respectful, reasoned and constructive settlement in all areas of their divorce, including child custody, child support, alimony and property division. By signing this commitment, the parties promise to employ fairness and good faith during their negotiations. They also promise to readily disclose all documentation required for a fully transparent negotiation.

What do surviving spouses receive when no will is on file?

When a loved one dies without a will, the decisions pertaining to estate distribution will be left up to state intestacy laws to determine. Since most state's intestacy laws track the 1990 Uniform Probate Code, let's start there to determine what a surviving spouse could potentially receive after the death of his or her husband or wife when no will is on file.

Following the death of a husband or wife, here's what the surviving spouse can expect to receive:

  • If children survived the deceased person -- and they are from both the surviving spouse and the decedent -- then the surviving spouse will be able to receive the entirety of the estate.
  • If the decedent has no surviving children and no surviving parents, then the surviving spouse will be able to receive all of the estate.
  • If parents and no children survive the decedent, then the surviving spouse can receive the first $200,000 worth of the estate along with 75 percent of any amount in excess of this.
  • If the decedent is survived by a mix of his or her own children -- some of whom are blood-related to the surviving spouse and some of whom are not -- then the surviving spouse will keep the first $150,000 of the estate along with 50 percent of additional assets.
  • If the decedent is survived by his or her own children -- all of whom are not blood-related to the surviving spouse -- then the surviving spouse can keep the first $100,000 of the estate along with 50 percent of additional assets.

Business lawsuits pursued by Michigan coffee shop franchisee

A Michigan investor, who bought into the Roasting Plant coffee shop franchise, is suing the company for fraud. The investor purchased and paid to build two new locations for the coffee shop, one in Dearborn Heights and the other in Ann Arbor, paying over $3.1 million to set up the stores.

Six hundred thousand dollars of the investment was spent on Roasting Plant's proprietary "Javabot" automatic coffee roasting and brewing system. However, the stores have not churned the kind of profit the investor was hoping for.

What is a mechanic's lien?

A mechanic's lien doesn't have anything to do with car repair, even if it sounds like it. What it generally refers to in the context of real estate is the work that a contractor does on contract relating to a property, and the amount of money that the property owner has agreed to pay the contractor.

Let's say a bricklaying company does $20,000 worth of work on a property, but the owner of the property decides that he or she doesn't want to pay for the bricklaying services. Or, maybe the property owner is simply out of cash and unable to pay. The refusal to pay could be viewed as a violation of the contract, and a court could approve of the contractor's request to put a mechanic's lien on the property.

Why is January divorce season?

It's a new year, and for family law attorneys, it means that they will see a uptick in new business. A research firm, known as Family Studies, recently published information pertaining to divorce trends throughout the year. December is the slowest month for new divorces, and January is the highest.

It's pretty easy to deduce the reason why. No one wants to ruin the holiday season with a divorce. At the same time, the stress of being with family during the holidays could be enough to encourage many otherwise happy couples to divorce. The holidays can be like an emotional powder keg thanks to extended family visits and budget issues, and once January comes around, reality starts to sink in.

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Westland, MI 48185

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