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Michigan allows homeowners a discount on the property taxes for their principal residence. However, they are required to notify their local assessor if they are no longer residing in the home.

That posed a dilemma for homeowners who moved to a nursing home or assisted living facility but planned to return home someday. A few years ago, the Michigan Legislature changed the rules so that a nursing home resident could still claim the principal residence tax exemption. In order to qualify, the nursing home resident had to be living in a nursing home or assisted living facility (not with friends or family) and his home had to remain vacant (an unpleasant option during Michigan's harsh winters).

Recently, the Legislature amended the law again. It is now possible to keep the homestead exemption whether the owner is in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or another location (such as residing with a child). In addition, the new law does not require the home to remain vacant. Under the amended law, the homeowner is still entitled to the exemption if:

1) he owns the property
2) he has not established a new principal residence
3) he maintains (or provides for the maintenance of) the home while away
4) the property is not leased or used for a business or commercial purpose

If you are new to estate planning and not sure where to start, contact us today for a free consultation.