General Practice Lawyers Are Your Advocates in Traverse City

High-quality legal help to plan for your future or for your business in northern Michigan

The general practice attorneys at the Phelps Legal Group represent clients in a wide variety of issues involving business law, trusts, wills and guardianships. Our attorneys are widely respected for their thoughtful approach to clients’ problems.

How do I set up a trust?

A trust is a legal mechanism that is used to transfer your assets to another person or entity, either during your lifetime or after it. When setting up a trust, you appoint a trustee to manage the assets until they are distributed to the beneficiaries of the trust. The trustee is not always a person. Many people name institutions, such as the trust department of a bank, to act as their trustee. The trust document spells out your wishes about how, when and to whom your assets are to be transferred.

  • Irrevocable trusts are often used in estate planning because they can reduce estate taxes. Once you place an asset in an irrevocable trust, you no longer have direct access to that asset.
  • Revocable trusts have fewer tax benefits but allow you to access the assets, if necessary.
  • Living trusts are trusts set up during your lifetime.
  • Testamentary trusts are created by your will and go into effect at the time of your death.

Setting up a trust is a complicated task that is best performed by an experienced attorney. The Phelps Legal Group helps you with your estate planning and creates trusts that benefit you and your beneficiaries.

Why happens if I don’t have a will?

If you do not have a will when you die (which is called dying “intestate”), Michigan law applies a formula to distribute your assets among your spouse, children, parents and other living relatives. It is important to have a will so that you make those decisions, rather than the state. A will allows you to decide how all of your property will be distributed after your death. After your death, a probate court makes sure the will is valid and then orders that it be enforced.

What is the difference between guardianship and conservatorship?

Courts create guardianships and conservatorships to protect the interests of people who, because of age or infirmity, cannot protect their own interests.

  • A guardianship is created when a court appoints someone to look out for the interests of a minor or legally incapacitated adult. The guardian makes decisions about the ward’s living arrangements, medical care and other needs.
  • A conservatorship is created when a court names someone to manage the assets of a minor or legally incapacitated adult. A conservator protects the property, while a guardian protects the person.

When you are seeking guardianship, conservatorship or both, you are asking the court to help you protect your loved one, often when you are no longer in a position to do so yourself. Our attorneys explain the legal process and provide the compassionate advice you need.

What issues are involved in business law?

Business law is a broad practice area in which our attorneys help you and your company with such issues as:

  • Contracts
  • Employment, unemployment and disability
  • Health insurance
  • Intellectual property
  • Environmental regulations
  • Workplace safety regulations
  • Privacy
  • Finance

Our business law attorneys take care of your legal issues so your company can focus on its business.

Get business law advice from experienced attorneys

Our firm offers the full range of business law services. Call the Phelps Legal Group today at 231-421-6577 to make an appointment, or reach us via our online contact form. Our office is on the corner of Grandview Parkway and M-72. We are eager to meet with you.