adoption

Can I Adopt in Michigan?
Applicants can be single, married, or divorced. You can own or rent a home. Parents need to be at least 18 years old in order to foster or adopt. While adoptive parents do not need to be rich, they need a stable income to support a growing family. Applicants must be in good mental and physical health. Members of an adoptive household must be in good health as well. Parents need to provide 3 professional references. Adoption training classes may be required in order to become a foster/adoptive parent. For a more complete list of adoption FAQ, visit michigan.gov.

What Adoption Regulations Exist in Michigan?
Advertising: Adoption facilitators in Michigan are defined as licensed adoption agencies and attorneys. These two professionals may distribute pamphlets highlighting their services offered. They must present interested parties a written document including the following: the types of adoptions they handle, the services they provide, eligibility requirements for adoptive families, the procedure used to select adoptive parents for the child (in agency adoptions), amount of contact between families after adoption finalization, and a schedule of all fees.

Relinquishment: When a father refuses to consent to adoption for children born out of wedlock, adoption consent from the mother can be taken at any time pending the termination of the father’s parental rights and request for custody of the child. Consent cannot be executed until a judge or other authorized individual explains to the parent or guardian the parental rights and that consent permanently terminates those rights. If consent from a child is required, consent cannot be executed until an authorized individual explains to the child that their consent to acquire permanently an adoptive parent is as though they were legally born to that parent. Any person who grants consent may petition the courts to revoke consent up until the child is placed for adoption. After placement, parents may revoke only if an appeal for termination of parental rights is pending, and a petition for a rehearing has been filed within the appropriate time.

Birth parent expenses: Adoptive parents may pay reasonable charges for the following: medical, hospital, pharmaceutical charges for the birth mother/child in connection with the pregnancy, counseling charges for birth parent or child, living expenses before birth and up to 6 weeks postpartum, adoption related traveling expenses.

Post-adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements are not legally enforceable in Michigan.

Birth father rights: While no putative father registry exists in Michigan, unmarried fathers can take alternate steps to establish paternity. Before the birth of the child, father’s can file with any court in Michigan a notice of intent to claim paternity. As long as the mother does not deny the claim, the father becomes a presumed father and has the right to receive notice of adoption proceedings. The unmarried father may also sign an acknowledgement of paternity along with the birth mother.

Finalization: The child must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before adoption finalization.

Review Michigan adoption laws in detail.



Business Incorporation

Steps required for incorporation in the U.S.

•The Articles of Incorporation (also called a Charter, Certificate of Incorporation or Letters Patent) are filed with appropriate state office, listing the purpose of the corporation, its principal place of business and the number and type of shares of stock.[1] A registration fee is due which will usually be between $25 and $1,000, depending on the state.

•A corporate name is generally made up of 3 parts: “Distinctive element,” “Descriptive element,” and a legal ending. All corporations must have a distinctive element and (in most filing jurisdictions) a legal ending to their names. Some corporations choose not to have a descriptive element. In the name “Tiger Computers Inc.” the word “Tiger” is the distinctive element; the word “Computers” is the descriptive element; and the “Inc.” is the legal ending. The legal ending indicates that it is in fact a legal corporation and not just a business registration or partnership. Incorporated, Limited and Corporation, or their respective abbreviations (Inc., Ltd., Corp.) are the possibilities for this legal ending in the U.S. 

Usually there are also Corporate Bylaws which must be filed with the state. These will outline a number of important corporate housekeeping details such as when annual shareholder meetings will be held, who can vote and the manner in which shareholders will be notified if there is need for an additional “special” meeting. 

Reporting & Taxation

Taxation
Corporations can only deduct net operating losses going back two years and forward 20 years.

Reporting after incorporation
Assuming a corporation has not sold stock to the public, conducting corporate business is remarkably straightforward and uncomplicated. Often it amounts to little more than recording key corporate decisions (for example, borrowing money or buying real estate) and holding an annual meeting. Even these formalities can often be done by written agreement and do not usually necessitate a face-to-face meeting.

INCORPORATION vs. LLC

Which is Right for Your Business? Both the limited liability company and the corporation offer their owners similar protections and advantages. Both provide owners with protection from liability. Many view the limited liability company as a more flexible business structure while others view the structured nature of a corporation as a benefit. Below is a brief description of some possible benefits of each structure.

Limited Liability Company A limited liability company (called an “LLC”) is a legal entity that, in the eyes of the law, exists separate and apart from its owners. The owners of the LLC are called "members" (as compared to a corporation, where the owners are referred to as “shareholders”). An LLC is formed by filing with the proper state governmental authority (usually the Secretary of State) articles of organization (or the equivalent under the laws of a particular state) and all filing fees are paid. Some state laws may impose additional pre or post-creation requirements as well.There are three primary areas of an LLC that are attractive business owners:

• The LLC, like a partnership, is given a pass through tax treatment, i.e. profits and losses are reported on each owner/member’s individual tax return;

•The LLC, like a corporation, provides liability protection for the members (assuming that potential debts and obligations are incurred in the name of the LLC and not the members individually), which means that creditors can assert their claims only against LLC and not directly against the members (again, assuming that the LLC is properly operated and the members do not personally guarantee any obligation of the LLC); and 

•The LLC provides flexibility in management (as compared to the relatively rigid corporate structure) and other issues while preserving the 2 advantages listed above.

Corporations

A for-profit corporation is a business structure formed by filing articles or incorporation (or similarly named documents) with the appropriate state agency (again, usually the secretary of state). A corporation is recognized as being separate and apart from its owners. (The owners are called "shareholders".) As a separate entity, it has its own rights, privileges, and liabilities apart from the individuals who form it. The shareholders of a corporation are generally not personally liable or responsible for the debts or obligations of the corporation. A stockholder's personal liability is usually limited to the amount of his, her or its investment in the corporation and no more. A corporation continues to exist after the death of or transfer of shares by one or more of the shareholders. A corporation pays taxes on its profits, and its shareholders pay taxes on dividends, unless "S" tax status is elected - then the profits and losses of the corporation "pass through" to the shareholders.

Advantages of Corporation

• With the shield against personal liability, the shareholders of a corporation have only the money that they have invested into the company at risk - shareholders are generally not required to pay their own money to satisfy any debt of or judgment against the company.

•Many view the corporate structure as being permanent, adding “instant” credibility and stature to a business. 

•A corporation can be the most enduring legal business structure. If a sole proprietor or partner dies, the business ends or it may become involved in various legal entanglements. A corporation's existence may continue on regardless of what may happen to its individual officers, directors or shareholders. Also, ownership of the business may be transferred, without disrupting operations, through the sale of stock. 

•Capital can be more easily raised with a corporation. This may be accomplished through the sale of stock or other equity interests. 

•Corporations can offer anonymity to its owners. The corporate name is used in the operation of the business, generally not that of the shareholders. 

• Tax Advantages - Deductible Employee Benefits. Corporations may offer the advantage of providing tax-deductible benefits such as the cost of health and life insurance, travel and entertainment as well as providing an increased tax shelter for retirement plans.

Legal benefits

Protection of personal assets. Safeguarding personal assets against the claims of creditors and lawsuits. Sole proprietors and general partners in a partnership are personally and jointly responsible for all the liabilities of a business such as loans, accounts payable, and legal judgements. In a corporation, however, stockholders, directors and officers typically are not liable for their company's debts and obligations. They are limited in liability to the amount they have invested in the corporation (eg: If $100 in stock was purchased, no more than $100 can be lost). Corporations and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) may hold personal assets like real estate, cars or boats. If one is personally involved in a lawsuit or bankruptcy, these assets may be protected. A creditor of the owner of a corporation or LLC cannot seize the assets of the company; however, they can seize their ownership shares in the corporation, as that is considered a personal asset.

Transferable ownership. Ownership in a corporation or LLC is easily transferable to others, either in whole or in part. Some states' laws are particularly attractive to this end. For example, with a Delaware Corporation, the transfer of ownership in a corporation is not required to be filed or recorded. 

Retirement funds. Retirement funds and qualified retirements plans, such as a 401(k), may be established more easily. 

Taxation. In the United States, corporations are taxed at a lower rate than individuals. Also, they can own shares in other corporations and receive corporate dividends 80% tax-free. There are no limits on the amount of losses a corporation may carry forward to subsequent tax years. A sole proprietorship, on the other hand, cannot claim a capital loss greater than $3,000 unless the owner has offsetting capital gains.

Raising funds through sale of stock. Capital from investors can be raised for corporations easily through the sale of stock. 

Durability. A corporation is capable of continuing indefinitely. Its existence is not affected by the death of shareholders, directors, or officers of the corporation. 

Credit rating. Regardless of an owner's personal credit scores, corporations acquire their own credit rating, and build a separate credit history by applying for and using corporate credit. 

Probate

Probate is a legal proceeding to administer certain kinds of property (called probate property) owned by someone who has died (the decedent), and to see that claims, expenses and taxes are properly paid, and that the remaining estate is distributed to those entitled to receive it under the decedent's will or Michigan intestacy law.  Probate property is all property titled in the decedent's name alone.  It is distributed only under the decedent's will or according to Michigan law.  A probate proceeding takes place in the probate court of the county where the deceased property owner lived.


Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a Federal Law allowing individuals in debt to discharge his or her liabilities and reestablish their credit and financial lives.  The three primary Bankruptcy Code sections for consumers are

Chapter 7 (Fresh Start/Liquidation), Chapter 13  (Repayment) and Chapter 11.  Our goal in representing clients in Bankruptcy cases is to provide the client knowledge of the procedures the law requires and to make certain the client qualifies to seek relief under the Bankruptcy Code.  Clients are expected to gather a great deal of information for the attorney.  We thoroughly explain what information is needed and ensure the client understands why the information is needed for a bankruptcy filing.  

We are a debt relief agency assisting people in filing for relief under the US Bankruptcy Code



Real Estate

We offer a variety of real estate legal services, including but not limited to, purchase agreements, leases, notes and mortgages, evictions, land contracts, and real estate closings.

Real estate transactions are governed by a wide body of federal statutes and state statutory and common law. The requirements established by state law often differ significantly from one state to the next.
 
Real estate brokers are employed as the agent of the seller in order to obtain a buyer for their property. The contract between the broker and seller is called a listing agreement. The agreement may be an open agreement whereby the broker earns a commission only if he or she finds a buyer. A listing is exclusive if the broker is the only agent entitled to a commission for finding a buyer. Under an exclusive arrangement a broker may be entitled to a payment even if the seller finds the buyer without the brokers aid. Real estate brokers and salesperson are licensed and regulated by local state laws.  
 
The Federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in real estate transactions on account of race, color, religion, sex,or national origin. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631. Real estate brokers are specifically prohibited from discriminating by the act. See § 3606 of the act. 
 
The agreement to sell between a buyer and seller of real estate is governed by the general principles of contract law. The Statute of Frauds requires that contracts for real property be in writing.  
 
It is commonly required in real estate contracts that the title to the property sold be marketable. This requires that the seller have proof of title to all the property he or she is selling and that third parties not have undisclosed interests in the title.  
 
A title insurance company or an attorney is often employed by the buyer to investigate whether the title is, indeed, marketable. Title insurance companies also insure the buyer against losses caused by the title being invalid. 



Wills and Trusts

A last will and testament is a legal document that describes how your property should be distributed to family, friends, and favorite charities upon your death. It should designate an executor to carry out the terms of the will during the probate process, and a guardian if you have minor children. A living will is a legal document that specifies what actions should be taken for your health in the event you are no longer able to make decisions due to illness or incapacity. A living will is one form of advance directive and typically accompanied by a medical power of attorney.
        
An ethical will, while not a legal document is a written, personal statement that helps pass your values on to the next generation. It may include:    

  • Family history and cultural and spiritual values

  • Blessings, expressions of love, hopes, and dreams for children and grandchildren

  • Lessons learned and the wisdom that comes from life experience

  • Requests for forgiveness and ways to be remembered

  • Rationale for philanthropic and personal financial decisions

  • Stories about meaningful items left to heirs

Ethical wills are not new; the template can be found in Genesis 49, when a dying Jacob gathered his sons to offer them his blessing and to make his final requests. Today, ethical wills are often written documents shared with family and community while the author is still alive. Consider writing an ethical will at the same time you draft your legal will.