Technicalities Matter: Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney

Technicalities MatterPeople often wonder if a criminal defense attorney is really worth the cost. Here is an example of exactly why one would want an attorney on one’s side.

Recently, I represented a young lady charged with Operating While Intoxicated–Super Drunk. She faced a 1-year license suspension and thousands of dollars in fines. An officer had pulled her over because she was swerving all over the road.  She performed poorly on the sobriety tests. The legal limit for drinking and driving is .08. She blew a .19 (twice). But there’s always the possibility of a loophole.

Reading the police report, I recognized that my client had initially refused the Breathalyzer in jail. The officer who was supposed to observe her for 15 minutes had a dialogue with her, during which he suggested she should cooperate and take the test. My client continued […]

Benefits for Veteran-Owned Businesses and Nonprofits

Veteran Owned Business benefits by Verspoor Waalkes Grand Rapids business attorneyVeterans are returning to civilian life and are ready to contribute to their communities in many substantial ways, including starting businesses and nonprofits. Veterans could, however, be missing out on many different ways to save some money as they start their own entities.

In fact, veteran owned entities in Michigan are entitled to a waiver of many of the fees required for filing various documents for your corporations and limited liability companies. This includes your annual filing fee!

The provisions regarding for-profit corporations waive a list of fees if a majority of the shares of the corporation are owned by honorably discharged veterans. (See the list of fees and waiver here.).  For nonprofit corporations, the statute provides for a waiver of a list […]

Protecting Your Hard Earned Money from Collections

Saving your money from collections through smart probate management.There is a myth that attorneys are prohibitively expensive and thus it is easier to figure out your legal situations on your own. However, many times having an attorney on your side can actually end up saving you significant amounts of money.

Here are two situations where we assisted clients in saving money.  As we all know, banks are sometimes difficult because they are monolithic and inflexible. However, there are also times when their slow-moving nature can work in your favor.

Example 1:  We recently had an estate where the deceased had quite a large amount of credit card debt owed to various banks.  After her death, we notified the banks she had passed and they should file claims in probate court. Each creditor was given the same time frame to file its claim, […]

The Unseen Costs of Divorce

"The Unseen Costs of Divorce" by Verspoor Waalkes Grand Rapids family law lawyers

During an initial consultation with a prospective client asking about divorce, my clients and I consider the benefits, costs, and alternatives.  Usually, the benefits of a divorce are obvious.  For example, if the other party is abusive, divorce provides protection.  However, often, the costs and alternatives are less clear.

Here are some costs to consider:

  • Divorce is hard on children.  Even children in unhappy homes are used to having two parents around.  You and your children might have to change neighborhoods, friends, and schools, which will disrupt your children’s routines.
  • Divorce hurts finances. It increases expenses, but not necessarily incomes.  After a divorce, there are two residences and two sets of kid’s clothes. If one spouse […]

Saving Clients Money

Saving money on your property taxes even as you move into a retirement home.As attorneys, we often have the opportunity to help our clients save money. For example, carefully monitoring the status of property taxes often can yield significant financial dividends.

Recently, we met with a client who lives in assisted living to discuss estate planning. This particular client also owns a condominium in which she no longer lives. She may decide to sell it at some point, but has not put it on the market yet and continues to own it.

During the course of working on this client’s trust and related estate planning documents, we checked the status of her principal residence exemption (PRE) for her home. She had no PRE in place.

A PRE allows an owner’s principal residence (or homestead) to be taxed at a lower rate […]

Death and Frequent Flier Miles

Death and frequent flier miles.In our estate planning practice, we regularly discuss with our clients who they want to receive their assets.

At times, our clients will wonder whether their frequent flier miles can be inherited, and how they can go about transferring these miles to their loved ones after death.  The answer, as is often the case, is, “It depends.”

All airlines have their own rules related to transferring frequent flier miles after death.  Sometimes the transfer of frequent flier miles after death is precluded under the airline’s documentation, although there can be exceptions.  If a client desires to maintain and eventually attempt to transfer his or her airline miles to a loved one after death, we advise them to contact the airline to determine if this is possible and what procedures will be required to make this transfer.

Our experience has […]

Of Online Passwords, Regular Reviews, and Estate Planning

Keys hanging from doorWe have seen some reminders recently about letting your heirs know your passwords if you die – such as passwords for online banking.

We think the easiest way to do this is to write down your passwords and keep them in a safe place, preferably with your estate planning documents in a fire-proof safe.  What matters is that your heirs are able to find the passwords and use them if you pass away.

When you review your estate planning documents, make sure that your passwords are listed and updated along with the other estate planning documents.  We recommend an annual review of your documents to make sure that the specific fiduciaries you have chosen to act and the distribution of your assets remain consistent with your desires.

You could possibly do this every January 1, or on your birthday every […]