Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – April 12, 2024

  1. U of M Economists Project Michigan Economic Growth for Year Ahead

Economists from the University of Michigan recently released the annual Michigan Economic Outlook for 2024-25. The Outlook projects economic growth for the year ahead, including approximately 38,000 new jobs in 2024.

Why it Matters: This year’s expected job growth comes on the heels of a slowdown in employment in Michigan during the second half of last year, according to the report.

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  1. April Business Education Series

In the dynamic landscape of business, where adaptability is key, the importance of having robust Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) cannot be overstated. SOPs serve as the backbone of organizational efficiency, ensuring consistency, compliance, and continuous improvement.

Why it Matters: The April Business Education Series, “Optimizing Operations: The Crucial Role of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs),” led by Brittany Parks, founder and principal Consultant, Brittany Parks Process Consulting, is designed to equip participants with the knowledge, skills, and tools to harness the transformative power of SOPs in their respective organizations. Learn more and to register.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Exceeds $288 Million in March ‘24

Cannabis sales surpassed $288 million in March, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $286,790,258.52, while medical sales came in at $2,053,021.25, totaling $288,843,279.77.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market oversaturation that the industry is contending with.

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  1. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

Why it Matters: The UPOAA will apply to all powers of attorney in Michigan beginning July 1, 2024, with certain exceptions. Read more from attorney Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec.

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  1. Ten Reasons Why You May Want to Consider a Family Cottage Succession Plan

The goal of cottage succession planning is to set up legal ground rules that provide the best chance to keep a cottage in the family for future generations.

Why it Matters: A cottage plan usually addresses concerns through the creative use of a limited liability company (LLC), or a trust (typically used for more favorable treatment associated with the uncapping of taxable value), to own the property. Learn more from cottage law attorney Mark Kellogg.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Trusts & Estates | Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – March 29, 2024

  1. Cannabis Regulatory Agency Takes Disciplinary Action

The Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency recently released its February 2024 Disciplinary Action Report, which details administrative formal complaints and disciplinary actions taken against adult-use/medical licensees in February by the CRA. The list is extensive, and the disciplinary action imposed ranges from fines to license suspension.

Why it Matters: Michigan cannabis rules and regulation are complex, cumbersome, and, as we see from the CRA’s most recent Disciplinary Action Report, aggressively enforced by the agency. For assistance in understanding and complying with Michigan’s cannabis industry regulatory framework, please contact a member of our Cannabis Law team.

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  1. Corporate Transparency Act Update

As anticipated, the finding by a federal judge in Alabama that the Corporate Transparency Act is unconstitutional has prompted (or at least been echoed by) challenges elsewhere, including in federal courts in Maine and in Michigan. FinCEN filed its appeal notice in the Alabama suit earlier this month, meaning that a decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals may be forthcoming. The suits in Maine and Michigan were brought in courts covered by the 5th and 6th Circuit Courts of Appeals, which could be the beginning of a series of events that brings the question of the CTA’s constitutionality before the United States Supreme Court as a result of a possible Circuit split.

Why it Matters: Reporting companies that were formed prior to January 1, 2024, may find it advantageous to continue collecting their beneficial owner information but postpone filing the report until some of these matters have worked through their respective processes. Entities created on or after January 1, 2024, however, will still need to file their reports within 90 days of filing their organizing documents, as their reporting obligations have not been excused. Learn more from attorney Bob Burgee.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Exceeds $261 Million in February ‘24

Cannabis sales surpassed $242 million in February, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $258,857,645.20, while medical sales came in at $2,178,744.68, totaling $261,036,389.88.

Why it Matters: Marijuana sales remain strong in Michigan, particularly for recreational use. However, there still are significant concerns about profitability and market oversaturation that the industry is contending with.

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  1. A Health Professional’s Guide to Navigating the Disciplinary Process: What to Expect if You Are Facing a Professional Licensing Investigation or Administrative Complaint

Health professionals are committed to caring for patients with expertise, compassion, and integrity. However, in the heavily regulated healthcare field, those professionals can sometimes find themselves navigating not just the medical challenges of their patients but licensing issues of their own as well. Licensing issues can arise unexpectedly, and, when they do, they can cause tremendous stress and uncertainty.

Why it Matters: As an attorney with years of experience handling professional licensing matters for health professionals, Robert J. Andretz has witnessed firsthand how professional licensing investigations and Administrative Complaints can disrupt health professionals’ careers and their ability to provide patient care. He will explore how to navigate the disciplinary process in Michigan so that you can know what to expect if you are ever faced with a threat to your license. Learn more.

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  1. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

Why it Matters: The UPOAA will apply to all powers of attorney in Michigan beginning July 1, 2024, with certain exceptions. Read more from attorney Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Health Care Law Robert Andretz
Trusts & Estates | Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – March 22, 2024

  1. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

Why it Matters: The UPOAA will apply to all powers of attorney in Michigan beginning July 1, 2024, with certain exceptions. Read more from attorney Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec.

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  1. Can an Out-of-State Patent Attorney Represent Me?

Securing a patent for an innovative idea involves maneuvering through a complex, multifaceted process. And having the right guide—patent legal counsel—is an essential part of the process. A common misconception is that a party hoping to secure a patent must turn to a local attorney for help. This belief, while understandable considering that many legal matters require local expertise and licensing, overlooks the dynamics of how things work with patent law.

Why it Matters: The truth is, in the digital age, the geographical location of your patent attorney matters less than their expertise, experience, and ability to navigate the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) requirements. Learn more from attorney Andrew Martin.

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  1. Michigan CRA Publishes February Data: Average Price Decreases

Per data released by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA), the average retail price for adult-use sales of an ounce of cannabis in February was $91.94, a decrease from $93.20 in January. This is an increase from February 2023, where the average price was $86.00.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. CRA Warns of Scam Targeting Michigan Cannabis Businesses

On March 8, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency (CRA) sent out an advisory bulletin warning cannabis businesses of an individual posing as an agent of the CRA demanding payment of license fees under the threat of revoking their license(s).

Why it Matters: The CRA noted, “Licensees and applicants are reminded that administrative rules require they notify the CRA and local law enforcement within 24 hours of becoming aware – or within 24 hours of when they should have been aware – of the theft or loss of any product or criminal activity at the marijuana business.”

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorneys Secure Summary Disposition for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorneys Danielle Lofton and Gary C. Rogers have obtained summary disposition and dismissal of a lawsuit in favor of the firm’s client in a personal injury case pending before the Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.

Why it Matters: Attorney Lofton successfully argued the motion, convincing the trial court that the plaintiff’s injuries did not rise to the level of serious impairment of body function, following mediation in which the plaintiff, who was represented by a prominent plaintiff’s personal injury firm, rejected the settlement recommended by a mediator, and wanted to proceed to trial before a jury. Instead of accepting the mediator’s recommended settlement amount, the plaintiff will now receive nothing. Learn more.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Trusts & Estates | Melisa M.W. Mysliwiec
Intellectual Property | Andrew Martin
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Insurance Law | Danielle Lofton
Insurance Law | Gary Rogers

The Uniform Power of Attorney Act

Ready or not . . . big changes are coming with respect to powers of attorney in Michigan. The Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA or Act), 2023 PA 187, was signed into law in November 2023 and goes into effect July 1, 2024. It repeals Michigan’s current statutory law on durable powers of attorney, specifically Sections 700.5501-700.5505 of the Estates and Protected Individuals Code (EPIC). The UPOAA is not part of EPIC, instead, it is a stand-alone statute located at MCL 556.201 et. seq.

The UPOAA applies to all written records that grant authority to an agent to act in one or more matters on behalf of a principal (which is how the Act defines “power of attorney”)[i], with certain exceptions that are nearly identical to the exclusions currently set forth in EPIC[ii]. Powers of attorney executed in Michigan before July 1, 2024, under what will soon be considered the “old” law will remain valid so long as they complied with the laws of this state that existed at the time they were executed.[iii]

To be effective, a power of attorney created on or after July 1, 2024, must be signed by the principal or by another individual directed by the principal to sign the principal’s name in their conscious presence.[iv]

If a power of attorney is signed by the principal and either (1) acknowledged by the principal before a notary public or other individual authorized to take acknowledgments or (2) signed in the presence of 2 witnesses who also sign the power of attorney and are not an agent nominated in the power of attorney, it is considered to be durable, i.e. not terminated by the principal’s incapacity,[v] unless it expressly provides that it is terminated by the incapacity of the principal.[vi] However, if a power of attorney is signed in the principal’s conscious presence by another individual directed by the principal to sign the principal’s name, it is only considered durable if it does not expressly provide otherwise,[vii] and if it is signed in the presence of 2 witnesses who also sign the power of attorney and are not an agent nominated in the power of attorney, regardless of whether the power of attorney is acknowledged.[viii]

There are statutory benefits to having powers of attorney acknowledged by the principal. Powers of attorney that are acknowledged carry a presumption of genuineness.[ix] Whereas those that are merely witnessed, but not acknowledged, are not entitled to the same presumption of genuineness[x], which prevents those presenting the power of attorney for acceptance by third parties from relying on the protections offered under sections 119 and 120 of the UPOAA.[xi]  Subject to certain exceptions, section 120 of the UPOAA provide that a person shall either accept an acknowledged power of attorney or they may request an agent’s acknowledgment or a certification, translation, or opinion of counsel not later than 7 business days after the power is presented for acceptance.[xii] And, further, subject to certain exceptions, if such a request is made, the person must accept the power of attorney not later than 5 business days after receipt of the timely requested items (agent’s acknowledgment or certification, translation, or opinion or counsel).[xiii] A person that refuses, in violation of the Act, to accept an acknowledged power of attorney is subject to a court order mandating acceptance of the power and liability for reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred in bringing that action[xiv]; and if such refusal occurs after having requested and received a certification, translation, or opinion of counsel, the person is additionally liable for reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred in providing the requested certification, translation, or opinion of counsel.[xv]

In preparation for the UPOAA’s July 1 effective date, practitioners should consider drafting a certification of the validation of a power of attorney and agent’s authority for such situations or practitioners should save the UPOAA’s optional template set forth in Section 303[xvi] of the Act.  Practitioners should also give thought to whether they will sign such certifications on behalf of agents or principals they represent, or whether, instead, they will prepare such certifications only for an agent’s signature.

Practitioners will also need to determine whether they will review and update their current power of attorney forms to comply with the UPOAA or whether they will defer to using the new statutory form power of attorney, which is set forth in section 301[xvii] of the Act. There is also an optional template for the agent’s acknowledgment set forth in section 302[xviii] of the Act.

Some things to keep in mind when reviewing and potentially updating current powers of attorney to comply with the UPOAA include:

    • A power of attorney is effective when executed unless it provides in the power of attorney that it becomes effective at a specified future date or on the occurrence or a specified future event or contingency.[xix]
    • Execution of a power of attorney under the UPOAA does not revoke a previously executed power of attorney unless the subsequent power of attorney provides as much.[xx]
    • If a principal designates 2 or more persons to act as coagents, unless the power of attorney provides otherwise, each coagent may exercise the authority granted in the power independently.[xxi]
    • A principal may grant authority to designate one or more successor agents to an agent or other person designated by name, office, or function.[xxii]
    • Unless the power of attorney provides otherwise, an agent is entitled to reimbursement of expenses reasonably incurred on behalf of the principal and reasonable compensation for services rendered on behalf of the principal.[xxiii]
    • Certain powers may not be exercised by an agent unless the power of attorney expressly grants the agent the authority to do so, or the authority is granted by judicial order. These include the power to[xxiv]:
      • create, amend, revoke, or terminate an inter vivos trust;
      • make a gift;
      • create or change rights of survivorship;
      • create or change a beneficiary designation;
      • delegate authority granted under the power of attorney;
      • waive the principal’s right to be a beneficiary of a joint and survivor annuity, including a survivor benefit under a retirement plan;
      • exercise fiduciary powers that the principal has authority to delegate;
      • exercise authority over the content of electronic communications sent or received by the principal;
      • and exercise authority over any bank, securities, or other financial account in a foreign country.
    • Notwithstanding an express grant of authority in the power as set forth above, an agent who is not an ancestor, spouse, or descendant of the principal cannot create in the agent, or in an individual to whom the agent owes a legal obligation of support, an interest in the principal’s property, whether by gift, right of survivorship, beneficiary designation, disclaimer, or otherwise unless the power of attorney provides otherwise.[xxv]
    • Sections 204 to 217 of the Act set forth several general powers that a principal can grant to an agent. They include powers related to:
      • real property[xxvi];
      • tangible personal property[xxvii];
      • stocks and bonds[xxviii];
      • banks and other financial institutions[xxix];
      • operation of an entity or business[xxx];
      • insurance and annuities[xxxi];
      • estates, trusts, and other beneficial interests[xxxii];
      • claims and litigation[xxxiii];
      • personal and family maintenance[xxxiv];
      • benefits from governmental programs or civil or military service[xxxv];
      • retirement plans[xxxvi];
      • taxes[xxxvii]; and
      • gifts[xxxviii].
    • The Act provides that any portion or all of these general powers (listed in sections 204 to 217) can be included in a power of attorney by citing the section in which the authority is described or referring to a heading or catchline of sections 204 to 217.[xxxix] If the power of attorney specifically incorporates, by reference, any of those sections, the entire section is incorporated as if that section were set out in full in the power of attorney.[xl]
    • The Act further specifies that if a power of attorney grants an agent authority to do all acts that a principal could do, the agent has all of the general authority described in sections 204 to 216.[xli]

While there may be mixed feelings among some practitioners on passage of the UPOAA, regardless of one’s feelings on the matter, practitioners must be ready for this change in the law and adapt. The good news is that practitioners have the option of adopting the statutory form power of attorney and the other optional templates in Article 3 of the Act as their own, or if they’d prefer, they may continue to use their own power of attorney forms as they’ve always done. I trust that most practitioners will find implementation of the UPOAA does not necessitate a significant number of edits to their current documents, but I also suspect that many will find they prefer the powers as set forth in the Act to their own provisions and may even adopt them as their own over time.

[i] MCL 556.203 and MCL 556.202(l).

[ii] MCL 556.203 and MCL 700.5501(7).

[iii] MCL 556.206(1).

[iv] MCL 556.205(1).

[v] MCL 556.205(2).

[vi] MCL 556.204.

[vii] Id.

[viii] MCL 556.205(3).

[ix] MCL 556.205(4).

[x] MCL 556.205(5).

[xi] Id.

[xii] MCL 556.220(1).

[xiii] MCL 556.220(2).

[xiv] MCL 556.220(4).

[xv] MCL 556.220(5).

[xvi] MCL 556.403.

[xvii] MCL 556.401.

[xviii] MCL 556.402.

[xix] MCL 556.209(1).

[xx] MCL 556.210(6).

[xxi] MCL 556.211(1).

[xxii] MCL 556.211(2).

[xxiii] MCL 556.212.

[xxiv] MCL 556.301(1).

[xxv] MCL 556.301(2).

[xxvi] MCL 556.304.

[xxvii] MCL 556.305.

[xxviii] MCL 556.306.

[xxix] MCL 556.308.

[xxx] MCL 556.309.

[xxxi] MCL 556.310.

[xxxii] MCL 556.311.

[xxxiii] MCL 556.312.

[xxxiv] MCL 556.313.

[xxxv] MCL 556.314.

[xxxvi] MCL 556.315.

[xxxvii] MCL 556.316.

[xxxviii] MCL 556.317.

[xxxix] MCL 556.302(1).

[xl] MCL 556.302(2).

[xli] MCL 556.301(3).

This alert serves as a general summary and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.

You can view Melisa’s article in the March 2024 issue of ICBA’s BRIEFS here (pages 28-30).


Fraser Trebilcock attorney Melisa M.W. MysliwiecIf you would like to talk with an attorney about putting legal plans in place, contact attorney Melisa M. W. Mysliwiec. Melisa focuses her work in the areas of Elder Law and Medicaid planning, estate planning, and trust and estate administration. She can be reached at mmysliwiec@fraserlawfirm.com or 616-301-0800.

Five Stories That Matter in Michigan This Week – June 23, 2023

  1. Client Alert: PCORI Fees Due by July 31, 2023!

In Notice 2022-59 the Internal Revenue Service set forth the PCORI amount imposed on insured and self-funded health plans for policy and plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023.

Why it Matters: Notice 2022-59 sets the adjusted applicable dollar amount used to calculate the fee at $3.00. Specifically, this fee is imposed per average number of covered lives for plan years that end on or after October 1, 2022, and before October 1, 2023. For self-funded plans, the average number of covered lives is calculated by one of three methods: (1) the actual count method; (2) the snapshot method; or (3) the Form 5500 method. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

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  1. Michigan Legislation Aims to Make it Easier to Hire Teachers and Counselors

On Thursday, the Michigan House passed legislation—which cleared the Michigan Senate in April—that aims to reduce barriers for out-of-state teachers and school counselors to work in Michigan’s schools. Senate Bill 161 would change Michigan’s teacher certification requirements, and Senate Bill 162 would similarly ease the way for out-of-state counselors to work with Michigan students.

Why it Matters: Michigan schools, like many in other parts of the country, have faced staffing shortages similar to those other employers have struggled with.

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  1. What You Need to Know About Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal document that allows you to provide for the care of your beloved pet if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. A pet trust can be created as a standalone document, or as part of a revocable (living) trust or will. In addition, a durable power of attorney can provide instructions to an agent for the care of a pet during your lifetime.

Why it Matters: Estate planning with pets in mind is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of, even when the owners can no longer care for themselves. Learn more about how to effectively care for your pets if you become incapacitated or pass away.

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  1. New Distracted Driving Law Goes into Effect June 30

Beginning June 30, Michigan motorists will be prohibited from using any mobile electronic device while operating a motor vehicle, even if at a stop sign or red light. This includes sending/receiving texts, accessing social media, or recording videos.

Why it Matters: First time offenders will face a $100 fine and/or 16 hours of community service, in addition to one point being added to the individual’s driving record. Penalties will increase for repeated violations, and on the third offense, individuals may be required to take a drivers improvement course.

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  1. Fraser Trebilcock Attorney Obtains Dismissal for Firm Client

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Jared Roberts recently obtained a dismissal in a circuit court case brought against a brokerage and salesperson.

Why it Matters: In this case, which involved interpretation of transaction documents, a county “Time of Sale” well and septic inspection ordinance and water quality issues, Mr. Roberts obtained dismissal in the first responsive document. Learn more about their practice and how they may be able to assist.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Employee Benefits | Bob Burgee
Employee Benefits | Sharon Goldzweig
Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker
Real Estate | Jared Roberts

What You Need to Know About Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal document that allows you to provide for the care of your beloved pet if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. A pet trust can be created as a standalone document, or as part of a revocable (living) trust or will. In addition, a durable power of attorney can provide instructions to an agent for the care of a pet during your lifetime.

These documents must be set up during your lifetime and allow you to:

  • designate a caretaker for your pet,
  • provide funds for their care and well-being,
  • designate a charity to receive funds remaining after your pet’s death,
  • give specific instructions for your pet’s care, dietary requirements, and medical treatments, and
  • provide for your pet to remain with you for as long as possible, at home, or at a facility.

Estate planning with pets in mind is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of, even when the owners can no longer care for themselves.

To learn more about how to effectively care for your pets if you become incapacitated or pass away, please contact us.

This alert serves as a general summary, and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Attorney Elizabeth M. Siefker

Elizabeth M. Siefker is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock in the trusts and estates practice group focusing on estate planning, elder law, and business planning. You can reach her at esiefker@fraserlawfirm.com, or at 517.377.0801.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – February 3, 2023

1. Michigan Legislature Expands EITC Credit

The Michigan legislature recently passed a bill expanding Michigan’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The approved legislation retroactively increased the state’s EITC to 30% of the federal credit, where it is estimated to impact over 700,000 low-income workers.

Why it Matters: Per the Michigan League for Public Policy, upping the state’s EITC credit means that for individuals and their families who are eligible can receive an average of $750 credit per family.

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2. CRA Publishes December 2022 Data, Average Price Drops

According to recent monthly datapublished by the Cannabis Regulatory Agency, the average retail flower price of an ounce of cannabis is $90.68, an all-time low and more than a 50% decrease compared to last year’s December 2021 average price of $184.90.

Why it Matters: While the prices of cannabis and cannabis-related products continue to decrease and make consumers happy, growers on the other hand are seeing profits decrease resulting in them seeking ways to halt new licenses to be granted in an effort to steady prices. Contact our cannabis law attorneysif you have any questions.

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3. Michigan Legislature Approves $1.1 Billion Supplemental Spending Bill

The Michigan Legislature on Thursday approved a supplemental spending bill totaling $1.1 billion over two years. The spending includes $150 million to deposit into the state’s Strategic Outreach and Attraction Reserve Fund, which the state has used to pay major incentives to manufacturers with plans to build batteries and electric vehicles, and $150 million to develop a tax credit program to reduce housing costs.

Why it Matters: The bill, one of the first acts of the Democrat-controlled legislature, generated some controversy. Republicans complained that there was insufficient time to review the bills, and raised questions about how some of the spending is to be allocated.

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4. Upcoming Changes to 529 Plans Following SECURE Act 2.0

President Biden signed the SECURE Act 2.0 into law on December 29, 2022. Under certain conditions, Section 126 of the Act will amend the IRS Code to allow tax and penalty free rollovers from 529 accounts to Roth IRAs.

Why it Matters: There has been a decline in 529 accounts because families are worried about needing to take non-qualified withdrawals of leftover funds within the account, thus incurring a penalty. Section 126 will provide individuals with an option to make better use of leftover funds within a 529 account. Section 126 will become effective with respect to distributions after December 31, 2023. Learn more on the topic.

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5. What You Need to Know About Pet Trusts

A pet trust is a legal document that allows you to provide for the care of your beloved pet if you become incapacitated and after you pass away. A pet trust can be created as a standalone document, or as part of a revocable (living) trust or will. In addition, a durable power of attorney can provide instructions to an agent for the care of a pet during your lifetime.

Why it Matters: Estate planning with pets in mind is an increasingly popular way for pet owners to ensure that their furry companions are taken care of, even when the owners can no longer care for themselves. Learn more about how to effectively care for your pets if you become incapacitated or pass away.


Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Business & Tax | Ed Castellani
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Trusts & Estates | Elizabeth Siefker

SECURE Act 2.0 and Changes to 529 Accounts

President Biden signed the SECURE Act 2.0 into law on December 29, 2022. Under certain conditions, Section 126 of the Act will amend the IRS Code to allow tax and penalty free rollovers from 529 accounts to Roth IRAs.

Under this Section, a beneficiary of a 529 account is permitted to rollover up to $35,000 over their lifetime from any 529 account in their name to a Roth IRA.  These rollovers will be subject to Roth IRA annual contribution limits, and the 529 account must have been open for more than 15 years.

There has been a decline in 529 accounts because families are worried about needing to take non-qualified withdrawals of leftover funds within the account, thus incurring a penalty. Section 126 will provide individuals with an option to make better use of leftover funds within a 529 account. Section 126 will become effective with respect to distributions after December 31, 2023.

This alert serves as a general summary, and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact us with any specific questions.


Attorney Elizabeth M. Siefker

Elizabeth M. Siefker is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock in the trusts and estates practice group focusing on estate planning, elder law, and business planning. You can reach her at esiefker@fraserlawfirm.com, or at 517.377.0801.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – January 6, 2023

  1. The Federal “Speak Out Act” Takes Effect

The Speak Out Act took effect on December 7, 2022, which prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign pre-dispute agreements that contain nondisclosure clauses or non-disparagement clauses that would have the effect of silencing employees concerning claims of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

Why it Matters: Requiring employees to sign such agreements is now a violation of federal law. Employers should review their current employee confidentiality agreements and revise them as necessary, keeping in mind that many state laws also limit what terms can be included in an NDA or similar agreements.

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  1. IRS Announces 2023 Standard Mileage Rates

The IRS announced the 2023 standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical, or moving purposes. Beginning on January 1, 2023, the rate for business use is 65.5 cents per mile, an increase of 3 cents from the 2022 midyear rate.

Why it Matters: Self-employed individuals who operate an automobile for business use, as well as employers who reimburse employees who use their own vehicles to conduct business, should take note of these changes.

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  1. FTC Proposes Rules Banning Noncompete Agreements for Workers

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published a proposed rule that would effectively ban the use of non-compete clauses in most employment agreements. The FTC’s guidance in proposing the rule says that 1-in-5 American workers are bound by some form of non-compete clause or agreement.

Why it Matters: These regulations (if adopted) will have wide-ranging impacts across many sectors of the economy. Employers should keep a close eye on these rules and be prepared to amend or revise their employment agreements accordingly.

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  1. Fed Issues Final LIBOR Replacement Rule

The United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), announced that the U.S. dollar LIBOR will cease after June 30, 2023. On December 16, 2022, the Federal Reserve Board issued its final rule governing the replacement of LIBOR as an interest rate benchmark.

Why it Matters: The final rule is complex. Businesses using LIBOR as a benchmark or index should make note of this upcoming change. Fraser Trebilcock attorneys will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates. Contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorneys if you have any questions.

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  1. Estate and Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption Update

Per the IRS, the 2023 Estate and Lifetime Gift Tax Exemption has increased from $12.06 million to $12.92 million. Additionally, the use of electronic signatures for Estate and Gift Tax forms has been extended to October 31, 2023.

Why it Matters: Individuals should take note of the increase in 2023 and plan accordingly. If you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock estate planning attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Business & Tax | Mark Kellogg
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Business & Tax | Norb Madison
Trusts & Estates | Marlaine Teahan

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – December 9, 2022

  1. Probate Court May Appoint Guardian Even Though Patient Advocate Already in Place

In the case In re Guardianship of Tyler J. Newland, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in an unpublished decision that a probate court may appoint a guardian for an individual who already has a patient advocate in place. The case involved a hospital that petitioned the probate court for the appointment of a guardian, alleging that a guardian was needed because the advocate for one of the hospital’s patients was not acting consistent with the patient’s best interests.

Why it Matters: This case highlights the need for experienced and effective estate planning legal counsel. For help with your estate planning needs, please contact a member of Fraser Trebilcock’s Trusts & Estates team.

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  1. Minimum Wage Set to Increase, With or Without Court Action

On Monday, December 5, 2022, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity announced the effective minimum wages for 2023, setting the standard minimum wage at $10.10 per hour.

Why it Matters: The Department’s notice cautioned that the announced rates were subject to change, pending a decision by the Michigan Supreme Court regarding the Michigan Legislature’s amendment to a successful 2018 ballot initiative. In any event, workers and employers can expect higher wage rates in the new year, just how much higher will be determined in the coming weeks and months. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. The Demise of the Open and Obvious Defense? (Michigan’s Evolution of Premises Liability Law)

Premises liability cases are often litigated in Michigan with considerable difficulty. In a premises liability claim, a possessor of land owes a duty to an invitee to exercise reasonable care to protect them from an unreasonable risk of harm caused by a dangerous condition on the land. However, plaintiffs frequently find difficulty in successfully making claims under a premises liability theory due to the “open and obvious” defense.

Why it Matters: Michigan courts have traditionally held that the hazards presented by snow, snow-covered ice, and observable ice are open and obvious and do not impose a duty on the premises possessor to warn of or remove the hazard. However, the courts appear to be slowly eroding this traditional approach. Learn more on the subject.

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  1. Tax Changes Coming for Research & Experimental Expenditures

For tax years beginning in 2022, research and experimental (R&E) expenditures are no longer immediately expensed but rather must be amortized over five years (15 years for foreign expenditures). This change to the tax treatment of R&E expenditures was included as a revenue raiser for the federal government to help pay for other tax breaks in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed at the end of 2017.

Why it Matters: Guidance is needed immediately for the 2022 tax year, especially for corporations that must prepare financial statements. The post-2021 tax treatment of R&E expenditures is inconsistent with financial accounting principles that requires most research and development costs to be expensed immediately.

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  1. Judge Upholds CRA’s Decision to Suspend Licenses for Flint Marijuana Business

As we covered in a previous newsletter, the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency suspended Green Culture’s medical and recreational licenses after they were found to have sold unregulated products that may have contained several contaminants, such as mold and/or bacteria. Following a two-day hearing, a judge sided with the state agency and upheld the suspension.

Why it Matters: Marijuana businesses should heed this as a warning, the CRA are cracking down on businesses that do not follow the strict guidelines and rules laid out by the state agency. Contact our cannabis law attorneys if you have any questions.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals
Trusts & Estates | Melisa M. W. Mysliwiec
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Insurance Law | Laura DeMarco
Business & Tax  | Paul McCord
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher