Blog Posts

Keep up to date on the important legal issues that impact your rights.
Free Financial Planning Workshop

Join Terri North, Owner and Attorney for Legal Strategies, PC, for a free virtual financial planning workshop.  Register by visiting  by February 10, 2021.  You will receive a zoom link the day of the workshop with instructions on how to log in.  The free seminar include: Estate Planning for Disabled Children Thursday, February 11, […]

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Free Financial Planning Workshops

Join Terri North, Owner and Attorney for Legal Strategies, PC, for two free virtual financial planning workshops.  Register by visiting  by February 3, 2021.  You will receive a zoom link the day of the workshop with instructions on how to log in.  The two free seminars include: Does Your Teenager Need an Estate Plan? […]

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Does Your Teenager Need an Estate Plan?

High school graduations (if you can call them that this year) are a time to think about the future of your children.  And some high school graduates may actually be heading off to a college campus, away from home, this fall. It may be hard to believe that your 18-year-old is now, legally, an adult. […]

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Three Ways a Trust Can Protect Your Family

Many people still believe that a trust is only for the very wealthy.  On the contrary, a trust allows someone, of even modest means, to ensure that his money is distributed as he wishes after his death. The top three benefits of a trust are: MORE CONTROL. A trust can set rules or conditions about […]

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Queen of Soul’s Reign Ends Badly

According to a recent article in Hour magazine, Aretha Franklin’s estate is headed to court. At the time of her death, Aretha had four sons and no Will on file with any of her attorneys. The four sons are her legal heirs. In August of 2018, they agree to have their cousin, Sabrina Owens, act as the representative for Aretha’s estate.

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Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

As some of you may be aware, the amount of money you can pass at your death has seen a lot of ups and downs in the past few decades.  In 2018, the amount was doubled from $5 million to $11.4 million per person ($11.5 million in 2020).  The tradeoff is that the amount is […]

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Ask Aging Parents These Questions

The Marchand Advisory Group of Raymond James recently published a list of important questions that you should ask your parents before there is an emergency. Financial Where are the financial assets? Ask you parents to create a list of their bank, brokerage and retirement account, including online user names and passwords.  If they are reluctant […]

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Estate Planning for Personal Property

Most people are driven to plan their estate because they are worried about their major assets – their home, a business, a large life insurance policy. But it is often the personal items – such as jewelry, collectibles and mementos, that have the highest sentimental value. It is easy to divide money by the number […]

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Prevent Family Feuds With A Simple Will

Too often, families are torn apart by trying to decide "who-gets-what" after a parent dies. A recent story in the Denver Post compiled a few of the horror stories that estate planning attorneys see on a regular basis: An irate sister who smashed a crystal vase in her attorney’s parking lot “so nobody will get […]

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Estate Planning Tips to Avoid Family Feuds

It is common practice to always name at least two owners on any asset. When one owner dies, the asset passes to the surviving owner and probate court can be avoided. However, problems can arise if a parent adds only one of his children as a co-owner on an asset. The parent and child may […]

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Estate Beneficiary vs Owner: Do You Have Full Control Of Your Assets?

Many people like to plan their estates by having two names on every asset. That way, when one owner dies, the asset automatically passes to the surviving owner, thus avoiding probate court. Once a person is added as an owner to an asset, that ownership takes effect immediately, and all owners have equal claim to […]

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New Law Helps Caregivers Of Veterans

On May 5, 2010, President Obama signed the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act into law. This law is designed to ensure that families of veterans who were severely wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan will receive comprehensive, coordinated financial and other support to provide home-care for these veterans. This new law provides: Health care, […]

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Can You Make A Will On Your Phone?

The Michigan Court of Appeals was recently asked to decide if a completely electronic "will" was valid. The ruling was that it is. Duane Horton was only 21 when he committed suicide. Before his death, he left an undated, handwritten entry in his journal. The journal entry said that his "final note" was on his phone, […]

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Has Anybody Seen My Wife?

Rodney Dangerfield once joked that “my wife and I sleep in separate rooms, have dinner apart, and take separate vacations - we're doing everything we can to keep our marriage together!”  But what if your wife didn't live with you and still wanted to inherit your property after your death? The Michigan Supreme Court recently […]

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Does your Loved One with Dementia have a Gun?

In a recent newsletter, Relevar Home Care reported on the often-fatal combination of a dementia patient and access to firearms, and they offered some safety suggestions. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 45% of people aged 65 and older have guns in their household. Another 12% reside in the home of a gun owner. […]

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Joint Asset Ownership May Lead To Unnecessary Capital Gains Tax

You may have heard that it is wise to always title assets in the name of two people, or “owners.” In the event of the death of one owner, the asset passes directly to the surviving owner and avoids probate court. However, did you know that in some cases, including an additional owner on an […]

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Who Should Be Your Personal Representative?

Deciding who should take charge of your affairs after you are gone can be very tricky. Parents often just list all of their kids to be co-representatives, but that can result in deadlocks and disagreements. Simply listing the kids, in their birth order, can also be a problem and can create resentment between the children. […]

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Do You Need to Call Your Insurance Agent?

If your home is owned by your Trust, or if you are the Trustee or Personal Representative for someone who owned a home, you need to make absolutely certain that your homeowner's insurance knows that! Earlier this year, the Michigan Court of Appeals was faced with a case where a homeowner transferred his house to […]

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Do You Know Where Your Money Is Going?

  Most people have at least one asset that includes a beneficiary designation (i.e, a life insurance policy, 401(k), IRA, annuity, etc.) It is important to remember that a beneficiary designation is the “trump card” and will overrule your will, your trust, or any other document that tries to direct to whom these funds are […]

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3 Ways A Trust Can Protect Your Family

Accordingly to a recent article from Merrill Lynch, many people still believe that a trust is only for the very wealthy. On the contrary, a trust allows someone of even modest means to ensure that his money is distributed as he wishes after his death. Merrill Lynch points out the three benefits of a trust: […]

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Beware Of Unscrupulous Debt Collectors!

If you’ve had a family member die recently, you may have been surprised by how quickly you started receiving phone calls from bill collectors. According to a recent New York Times story, some debt collectors are specially trained in all five stages of grief and are paid a commission to collect debts from grieving family […]

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Legal Strategies, P.C. 

Terri North is the Macomb County, Michigan attorney who heads up the Legal Strategies practice. Legal Strategies assists clients in the areas of estate planning, probate and real estate. 
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