Sunday, November 13, 2011

The documents you need at the end of life

By:  Carole L. Chiamp

You should not be satisfied that you’ve completed an estate plan.  The only way it will get used is if your heirs can find the document.

Most experts recommend creating a comprehensive folder of documents that family members can access in case of emergency.  You can store those documents with an attorney, lock them away in a safe deposit box or keep them in a safe at home.

The Basics

    ●    Original will or trust.

    ●    Proof of ownership of housing, cemetery plots, vehicles, stocks and bonds, brokerage statements, partnership agreements, life insurance policies, loan documents, bank accounts, retirement documents.

    ●    Power of attorney.

    ●    Durable health-care form.

    ●    Birth certificate, marriage license, divorce judgment.

Many millions of dollars are unclaimed year after year in life insurance, retirement accounts and bank accounts because heirs cannot find them or do not know of their existence.

Procrastination is not an option. 

For an excellent article on this subject, see The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die by Saabira Chaudhuri, The Wall Street Journal Weekend Investor.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Statewide Domestic Violence Information

As reported by the Michigan State Police, victims of domestic violence in Michigan totaled 101,388 in 2007, with 29,793 in Wayne County, 8,243 in Oakland County and 7,071 in Macomb County.  That means 44% of all reported victims of domestic violence reside in the tri-county area.

Click here to see the State Bar of Michigan's list of available domestic violence online resources.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 = Final year for Michigan charitable tax credits


Beginning in 2012, the Michigan tax code will include elimination of charitable tax credits.  In order to take advantage of the tax credits before it's too late, Michigan residents (and businesses) have until the end of the year to make a contribution.  Currently, the Michigan Income Tax or Michigan Business Tax codes allow for up to a 50 percent return on that investment.  Gifts and sponsorships to public radio, colleges and universities, libraries and museums, homeless shelters and food banks also will be ineligible for state tax credits after Dec. 31.

For the full article, click here.