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 – April 5, 2024

  1. New Michigan House Map Approved

A panel of three federal judges recently approved new voting districts for the Michigan House of Representatives after previously invalidating several districts within Detroit.

Why it Matters: The districts were revised because the panel previously found the Michigan redistricting commission’s redrawn districts were based predominantly on race in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

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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.

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  1. Snack Food Brand Sues Michigan Cannabis Companies Over Trademark Infringement

Better Made Snack Foods Inc, a Detroit based snack food company, is suing multiple Michigan cannabis companies over trademark infringement alleging that the companies knowingly and willingly sold cannabis products under the brand Better Smoke.

Why it Matters: Better Made is seeking monetary damages as well as an injunction to halt the sales of Better Smoke products.

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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. 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.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg
Health Care Law Robert Andretz
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee

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. 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. Here are ten reasons why you and/or your family may want to consider a family cottage succession plan.

    1. Prevent a joint owner from forcing the sale of the cottage through an action for partition.
    2. An alternative to allowing common law rules dictate how the cottage operates.
    3. Prevent transfer of an interest in the cottage outside the family.
    4. Protect owners from creditor claims.
    5. Establish a framework for making decisions affecting the cottage.
    6. Provide sanctions for nonpayment of cottage expenses.
    7. A vehicle for an “endowment” (money set aside to fund cottage expenses).
    8. To require mediation or arbitration of family disputes.
    9. Allocate control of the cottage between or among generations of owners.
    10. May help delay (or avoid) the uncapping of Michigan property taxes.

These are the basics, but just as each family is different, each agreement can be tailored to fit specific needs.


Mark E. Kellogg’s breadth of knowledge and experience gives his clients unique insight into the special considerations associated with the cottage law practice. If you have any questions, you can reach out to Mark at mkellogg@fraserlawfirm.com or (517) 377.0890 for assistance.

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – March 17, 2023

  1. Business Education Series – Teaching Leadership

Hosted at the Lansing Regional Chamber on Wednesday, March 22 at 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., the March Business Education Series will have Brain Town, founder and CEO of Michigan Creative, who will discuss how to inspire your staff to be the leaders they all have inside of them.

Why it Matters: Brian will also show you how to write core values that can guide your business and help form an unstoppable team. Attendees will learn how to write and use core values, leadership tips, and ways to inspire greatness. Business owners and leaders are encouraged to attend! Learn more.

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  1. How Patents Protect Your Business

A patent is a legal monopoly for protecting a utilitarian device, system, machine, composition or process. A patent owner has the right to prevent others from making, using, selling or importing a protected invention for a limited time.

Why it Matters: The U.S. is a “first-to-file” system, so it is imperative that an inventor keep the details of their invention confidential until a patent application has been filed. Also, timing is of the essence to prevent a competitor from winning the race to the Patent Office. Learn more.

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  1. Noteworthy Michigan Cannabis Brand Put into Receivership

Skymint Brands, a high-profile Michigan consumer cannabis brand, was placed into receivership on March 7. According to a lawsuit filed by Tropics, LP against Skymint’s parent company, Green Peak Industries, Inc., Tropics is owed more than $127 million in loans that are in default.

Why it Matters: While Michigan has experienced strong sales of recreational marijuana as a whole, prices per ounce have fallen significantly, making it difficult for many dispensaries to generate profits. The fact that Skymint’s assets were put into receivership is also noteworthy, as state court receivership has become an alternative to bankruptcy for distressed cannabis companies. Because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, companies can’t access federal bankruptcy to reorganize or liquidate.

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  1. CRA Publishes February 2023 Data, Average Price Hovers Near All-Time Low

The Cannabis Regulatory Agency recently published its latest monthly data, showing that the average price for an ounce of cannabis is $86.00, an increase from the all-time low of $80.16 in January of this year.

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. Ten Reasons 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: Here are a few reasons why you and/or your family may want to consider a family cottage succession plan. Prevents a joint owner from forcing the sale of the cottage through an action for partition, prevents transfer of an interest in the cottage outside the family, protects owners from creditor claims, and establishes a framework for making decisions affecting the cottage. See the complete list from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Intellectual Property | Jared Roberts
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

Five Stories that Matter in Michigan This Week – March 10, 2023

  1. US Supreme Court Makes Clear that Highly Compensated Employees can be Eligible for Overtime Pay

In Helix Energy Solutions Group v. Helix, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that highly compensated employees—in this case the employee at issue earned more than $200,000 per year—can be eligible for overtime pay if they are paid on a daily basis as opposed to a salary basis.

Why it Matters: Many employers mistakenly assume that highly compensated employees are not eligible for overtime pay. However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees are exempt from overtime if they earn at least $107,432 per year on a salary basis (and perform executive, administrative, professional or outside sales work. Because the penalties for noncompliance can be steep, employers should consult with legal counsel to help ensure that their workers are classified and paid in accordance with state and federal guidelines.

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  1. How Copyrights Protect Your Business

Copyright is the exclusive legal protection that covers an original work of authorship. Copyrights vest upon creation of the work, which means placing the work onto a tangible medium (e.g., applying paint to a canvas or words to a screenplay).

Why it Matters: As noted above, copyrights vest upon creation of the work, even if it isn’t published. Similar to trademark law, it can be difficult to enforce your copyright if the work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Learn more.

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  1. Department of Labor Issues Guidance to Employers on Telework

On February 9, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (Bulletin) addressing several questions related to compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when a business employs teleworkers.

Why it Matters: The Bulletin provides that the protections under the FLSA apply equally to employees who telework as to employees working at an office, factory, construction site, retail outlet, or any other worksite location. Learn more.

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  1. Business Education Series – Teaching Leadership

Hosted at the Lansing Regional Chamber, the March Business Education Series will have Brain Town, founder and CEO of Michigan Creative, who will discuss how to inspire your staff to be the leaders they all have inside of them.

Why it Matters: Brian will also show you how to write core values that can guide your business and help form an unstoppable team. Attendees will learn how to write and use core values, leadership tips, and ways to inspire greatness. Business owners and leaders are encouraged to attend! Learn more.

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  1. The Ins and Outs of Cottage Succession Planning in Michigan (Part Two)

A cottage plan is an agreement that describes how a cottage will be shared, managed and passed on to future generations of family members. Cottage plans typically cover a range of issues that can impede the succession of a cottage if left unaddressed.

Why it Matters: There are significant advantages to having a cottage plan that utilizes an LLC or trust structure. There is no single option that is best for all families, so it’s important to consult with an experienced cottage law attorney to determine what option is right for you. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis

Intellectual Property | Jared Roberts

Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

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

  1. DOL Issues Telework Guidance to Employers

On February 9, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a Field Assistance Bulletin (Bulletin) addressing several questions related to compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) when a business employs teleworkers.

Why it Matters: The Bulletin provides that the protections under the FLSA apply equally to employees who telework as to employees working at an office, factory, construction site, retail outlet, or any other worksite location. Learn more.

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  1. How Trademarks Protect Your Business

Trademarks operate to distinguish your business, build consumer goodwill and solidify your reputation as a source for the goods or services. In most cases, a trademark is a distinctive word, phrase, logo or design that is associated with or applied to a category of goods or services.

Why it Matters: If you are in the business of providing goods or services, then it is strongly recommended that you consult with an intellectual property lawyer to get the best protection in a timely manner. Learn more.

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  1. $35 Million in Grants Available for Small Nonprofits

The State of Michigan, Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) and Michigan Nonprofit Association (MNA) have teamed up to help Michigan charities whose operations were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it Matters: Under this initiative, called the MI Nonprofit Relief Fund, grants in amounts between $5,000 and $25,000 will be awarded to selected entities with annual revenues total under $1 million. In addition, eligible entities must be based in Michigan and recognized by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3). Learn more.

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  1. Michigan Cannabis Sales Over $200 Million in January

Marijuana sales surpassed $200 million in January, via the monthly report from the Michigan Cannabis Regulatory Agency. Michigan adult-use sales came in at $196,008,634, while medical sales came in at $11,295,443.

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

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  1. The Ins and Outs of Cottage Succession Planning in Michigan (Part One)

When purchasing a cottage, it’s often the intent of the owner to pass the cottage on to future generations to enjoy. Unfortunately, that vision may not become a reality due to challenges such as high property taxes, differing objectives among heirs and resulting family disputes that result in the cottage being sold upon the owner’s death.

Why it Matters: Common issues that prevent the passing of a cottage to future generations in Michigan can be addressed through careful cottage succession planning. Learn more from your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.

Related Practice Groups and Professionals

Labor, Employment & Civil Rights | Aaron Davis
Intellectual Property | Jared Roberts
Business & Tax | Robert Burgee
Cannabis Law | Sean Gallagher
Cottage Law | Mark Kellogg

The Ins and Outs of Cottage Succession Planning in Michigan (Part Two)

This is part two of a two-part blog post series on cottage succession planning in Michigan.

As summer winds down, the second-home market continues to heat up in Michigan. One of the issues many second-home owners face is determining the best way to keep a family cottage in the family for generations to come. In this series on cottage planning in Michigan, we are addressing that very issue.

In part one, we discussed the reasons why a cottage owner may want to develop a cottage plan (including Michigan’s complicated real estate tax framework). This article deals with the mechanics of cottage succession planning in Michigan—specifically, utilizing a limited liability company or trust structure to allow a cottage to be used and enjoyed by future generations in an organized way that helps reduce the risk of family disputes, thereby increasing the likelihood that the cottage will be part of the family for years to come.

What is a Cottage Plan?

A cottage plan is an agreement that describes how a cottage will be shared, managed and passed on to future generations of family members. Cottage plans typically cover a range of issues that can impede the succession of a cottage if left unaddressed, including:

  • Who should own the cottage?
  • Who should manage it?
  • Who should pay for it?
  • What if an owner wants/needs out?
  • Who gets to use it?
  • How should use be scheduled?

By working through these issues in a cottage plan, an owner (or “founder” in cottage-planning lingo) can achieve various goals that are commonly shared by those who desire to keep the cottage in the family. Those goals include:

  • Keeping the cottage in the family for future generations so that it can continue to serve as a gathering place for extended family
  • Giving children equal shares of the cottage (while avoiding “trapping” an inheritance in the cottage)
  • Keeping interests in the cottage out of hands of in-laws and creditors
  • Reinforcing family interests versus any one individual’s interests

An effective cottage plan can and should also address the objectives of the family members (or “heirs”) who will enjoy the cottage beyond the owner’s lifetime. Such objectives include:

  • Protecting the cottage from a divorce
  • Developing decision-making structures and control mechanisms
  • Developing consequences for failure to abide by rules—financial and behavioral
  • Developing a fair, flexible scheduling system
  • Provide an exit strategy where desired or necessary by providing the ability to sell interests back to family

Cottage Planning Solutions

Most husbands and wives who own a cottage hold title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, which means that title to the property automatically passes to the survivor on the death of the first co-owner regardless of any provision in a will or trust. Upon the death of the survivor, and in the absence of a cottage plan, the cottage will pass to heirs as tenants in common.

A tenancy in common can be problematic for a number of reasons, including:

  • Each tenant in common (“TIC”) has a right to partition
  • Each TIC may use the cottage at any time
  • A TIC may transfer his interest to any person at any time – including his/her spouse.
  • A TIC does not owe rent to the other owners for using the cottage.

A better approach, which helps avoid the issues that often arise when heirs are tenants in common, is to have title to the cottage held either by a limited liability company (“LLC”) or a trust. Under an LLC structure, a management committee, which serves a function similar to a board of directors, is formed to manage the cottage’s affairs. With a trust, co-trustees are appointed to make decisions. In either case, if the family and entity is structured by branches, it is advisable to have one representative from each branch of the family involved in decision making.

Through the cottage planning process, the founders decide who may be a “member” (under an LLC) or beneficiary (under a trust). Virtually all cottage plans restrict participation to lineal descendants of founders, which ensures the cottage remains in the family—in other words, preventing in-laws from becoming members or beneficiaries.

One of the primary advantages of having a cottage plan utilizing an LLC or trust structure is that it provides a mechanism for transferring membership or beneficial ownership interests. Plans typically include a “put option” which requires the LLC or trust to purchase the interests of members or beneficiaries who want to sell their stake, and a “call option” that allows for the forced buy-out of difficult members or beneficiaries. Valuation and payment term guidelines for purchases are defined in the plan. This provides a predetermined exist strategy for those who do not wish to participate in the cottage or those who do not or are unable to contribute their fair share to cottage costs and expenses. The predetermined terms established for the buy-out provisions offer the opportunity for a graceful exit.

Plans also address issues related to expenses, such as taxes and maintenance, for the cottage. Expenses are typically allocated according to a predetermined sharing ratio among the members and beneficiaries. Often, an annual budget is prepared and an annual assessment is determined at the beginning of each year or season. Failure to pay expenses can be dealt with through an escalating series of sanctions, from the imposition of late fees and interest all the way to the forced buy-out of the delinquent member or beneficiary.

In many instances, founders choose to offset the ongoing expenses of a cottage by establishing an endowment, which is a dedicated sum of money for a specific use. For example, a $500,000 endowment invested at a five percent rate of return will create a pre-tax return of $25,000 per year, which is a sum sufficient to operate many cottages. The endowment may be held and managed by a bank trustee or by the LLC. If a cottage is sold, the endowment distributes to the founder’s descendants. One way to fund the endowment is to purchase a “second-to-die” life insurance policy.

Finally, a cottage plan typically addresses issues related to the use of the cottage—that is, who can use the cottage at any given time. Two common approaches include a “rooming house” structure in which any member or beneficiary can use it any time, and a “time share” structure in which members and beneficiaries are allocated specific time slots for use.

Take Action to Create a Cottage Plan

There are significant advantages to having a cottage plan that utilizes an LLC or trust structure. There is no single option that is best for all families, so it’s important to consult with an experienced cottage law attorney to determine what option is right for you. With a bit of planning, you can help ensure that your cottage will be a source of enjoyment for your family for generations to come.

If you have any questions about planning issues for your cottage in Michigan, please contact Fraser Trebilcock shareholder Mark Kellogg.


We have created a response team to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and the law and guidance that follows, so we will continue to post any new developments. You can view our COVID-19 Response Page and additional resources by following the link here. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.


Fraser Trebilcock attorney Mark E. Kellogg is a certified public accountant, and has devoted over 30 years of practice to the needs of family and closely-held businesses and enterprises, business succession, commercial lending, and estate planning. You can reach him at 517.377.0890 or mkellogg@fraserlawfirm.com.

The Ins and Outs of Cottage Succession Planning in Michigan (Part One)

This is part one of a two-part blog post series on cottage succession planning in Michigan. You can view part two here.

The family cottage is a place for fun and relaxation in Michigan. It’s where different generations gather and form lifelong memories. When purchasing a cottage, it’s often the intent of the owner to pass the cottage on to future generations to enjoy. Unfortunately, that vision may not become a reality due to challenges such as high property taxes, differing objectives among heirs and resulting family disputes that result in the cottage being sold upon the owner’s death. Common issues that prevent the passing of a cottage to future generations in Michigan can be addressed through careful cottage succession planning.

Michigan is a Market for Second Homes

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, many predicted calamitous economic consequences. With record-high unemployment and a plunge in gross domestic product, there has been a severe plunge in economic activity across the United States. However, few anticipated that a mere four months after the pandemic took hold in Michigan and across the country, we would see record home sales driven by low mortgage rates and flight from dense urban areas.

In 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that in New York City the luxury real-estate market has been delivered a “stunning gut-punch” due to the COVID-19 crisis. Meanwhile, the Detroit Free Press reported that Michigan’s “Up North” cottage market has “become a red-hot market this summer, and not just despite COVID-19, but perhaps because of it,” with sale prices up as much as 10% from a year ago in some areas.

With plentiful access to fresh water and beautiful natural landscapes, Michigan has always been a desirable place to own a cottage. In fact, the National Association of Home Builders estimates that 50 percent of second homes in the United States are located in eight states, with Michigan being one of them.

With so many second homes in Michigan, it’s natural that there is a great deal of interest among homeowners in succession planning issues that allow second-home cottages to remain within their families for generations to come. 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 and prevent intra-family squabbles that may arise in the absence of a plan.

Reasons to Develop a Cottage Succession Plan

There are a number of reasons why a cottage owner may want to develop a cottage plan, which usually addresses concerns about successorship 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), tailored specifically for ownership of the cottage property. Here are ten common reasons why a cottage plan may be advisable.

  1. Prevent a joint owner from forcing the sale of the cottage through an action for partition
  2. An alternative to allowing common law rules to dictate how the cottage operates
  3. Prevent transfer of an interest in the cottage outside the family
  4. Protect owners from creditor claims
  5. Establish a framework for making decisions affecting the cottage
  6. Provide sanctions for nonpayment of cottage expenses
  7. A vehicle for an “endowment” (money set aside to fund cottage expenses)
  8. To require mediation or arbitration of family disputes
  9. Allocate control of the cottage between or among generations of owners
  10. May help delay (or avoid) the uncapping of Michigan property taxes

Michigan Real Estate Taxes

Cottage succession planning in Michigan has unique aspects due to its complicated real estate tax framework. Pursuant to Proposal A, a 1994 amendment to the Michigan Constitution, a property’s annual assessment increase is “capped” and cannot exceed the lesser of five percent or the rate of inflation during the preceding year. However, when ownership of property is “transferred” to a new owner, the property value is “uncapped” for purposes of calculating property taxes, and the value is adjusted to the current fair market value.

Prior to Proposal A, it was common for cottage planning to involve the use of a limited liability company (“LLC”) to enable successive generations to use and manage a family cottage. But the Michigan legislature, in revising real property tax laws to address Proposal A, did not include LLCs as a means of “transfer” that would prevent the uncapping of property taxes.

Pursuant to Michigan Compiled Laws, Section 211.27(a), transfers of ownership do not include (and therefore do not give rise to uncapping) the following:

  • Transfers to a spouse or jointly with a spouse
  • Transfers to a “qualified family member”
  • Transfers subject to a life lease retained by grantor.
  • Transfers to a trust if the settlor, settlor’s spouse or a “qualified family member” is the present beneficiary of the trust
  • Transfers from a trust, including a beneficial interest in a trust, to a “qualified family member”
  • Transfers from an estate to a “qualified family member”

A “qualified family member” includes:

  • Transferor
  • Spouse of the transferor
  • Transferor’s or transferor’s spouse’s:
    • Mother or father
    • Brother or sister
    • Son or daughter, including adopted children
    • Grandson or granddaughter

The Trust Approach to Cottage Succession Planning

Although the manager and member structure and the limited liability protection afforded LLCs make them the ideal entity to be used for cottage succession planning, in Michigan, the favorable treatment associated with trusts as a means to prevent the uncapping of real estate taxes upon transfer of a cottage to the next generation, have resulted in trusts being the entity of choice in Michigan. Part two of this series will discuss in further detail the aspects of using a trust in cottage succession planning in Michigan allowing the cottage to be used and enjoyed by future generations in an organized way that helps reduce the risk of family disputes and accordingly increases the likelihood that the cottage will be part of the family for generations to come.

If you have any questions about planning issues for your cottage in Michigan, please contact Fraser Trebilcock shareholder Mark Kellogg.


We have created a response team to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation and the law and guidance that follows, so we will continue to post any new developments. You can view our COVID-19 Response Page and additional resources by following the link here. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact your Fraser Trebilcock attorney.


Fraser Trebilcock attorney Mark E. Kellogg is a certified public accountant, and has devoted over 30 years of practice to the needs of family and closely-held businesses and enterprises, business succession, commercial lending, and estate planning. You can reach him at 517.377.0890 or mkellogg@fraserlawfirm.com.

Chicago Tribune Feature

Fraser Trebilcock cottage law attorney Mark E. Kellogg was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune for an article detailing the intricacies of vacation properties left behind for families, and the importance of implementing a succession plan before a family member has passed away.

You can view the full article by clicking HERE.


Mark E. Kellogg’s breadth of knowledge and experience gives his clients unique insight into the special considerations associated with the cottage law practice. If you have any questions, you can reach out to Mark at mkellogg@fraserlawfirm.com or (517) 377.0890 for assistance.

Ten Reasons 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. A cottage plan usually addresses concerns through the creative use of a limited liability company (LLC) to own the property. Here are ten reasons why you and/or your family may want to consider a family cottage succession plan.

  1. Prevent a joint owner from forcing the sale of the cottage through an action for partition.
  2. An alternative to allowing common law rules dictate how the cottage operates.
  3. Prevent transfer of an interest in the cottage outside the family.
  4. Protect owners from creditor claims.
  5. Establish a framework for making decisions affecting the cottage.
  6. Provide sanctions for nonpayment of cottage expenses.
  7. A vehicle for an “endowment” (money set aside to fund cottage expenses).
  8. To require mediation or arbitration of family disputes.
  9. Allocate control of the cottage between or among generations of owners.
  10. May help delay (or avoid) the uncapping of Michigan property taxes.

These are the basics, but just as each family is different, each agreement can be tailored to fit specific needs.


Mark E. Kellogg’s breadth of knowledge and experience gives his clients unique insight into the special considerations associated with the cottage law practice. If you have any questions, you can reach out to Mark at mkellogg@fraserlawfirm.com or (517) 377.0890 for assistance.