Our Practice Areas

If there is a legal issue you are dealing with that might not be listed on our website, please contact us first.  There are many ways to help counsel and guide you through the process. 

Family Law

Wheelihan Law is here to help you and your family through the difficult issues related to family law.

Wheelihan Law handles a full range of Family Law matters with diligence and compassion: Areas of practice include: Divorce, Separation, Paternity, Custody, Support and post-judgment matters.

Estate Planning

Estate planning can be simple or complex based upon the individual client’s needs.  Given all the different aspects that must be considered including age of an individual, size of estate, marital status it is important to make an appointment to discuss the specific needs for the client.  Areas of practice: Wills, Incapacity Planning (Power of Attorney), Probate Litigation and Property Deeds.

Probate

When a family member or friend dies, you may find yourself involved in the probate process. The probate process takes place in court, and it is the process by which assets belonging to the deceased person transfer to their new owners. The probate process is a complicated one in many situations, especially if there are questions about whether the deceased left a valid will behind or not. Everyone has their role to play within probate, and navigating the legal process to fulfill your obligations can be difficult when you’re dealing with a death.

Wheelihan Law can help during this difficult time.  Give us a call at 810-395-5015 to set up an appointment to discuss and get answers to important questions including:

  • What happens during probate?
  • Who should be represented by an attorney during probate?
  • How can Wheelihan Law help?

What Happens During Probate?

The probate process must begin after a deceased person has passed away, except in limited circumstances such as when the deceased made an estate plan which allowed all assets to transfer outside of probate. The deceased should have named an executor in his will. If he did, the executor is going to be responsible for starting the probate process by filing court paperwork and paying filing fees. If the deceased failed to name an executor, then the probate court will have to appoint a personal representative. A personal representative is also appointed in situations where the person who was named as an executor cannot fulfill the role. The personal representative or the executor does many things during probate including:

  • Making an inventory of assets that are part of the estate.
  • Notifying creditors of the death and the probate process.
  • Notifying next of kin and those named in the will of the death and probate process.
  • Filing all paperwork with the court throughout the entirety of the probate process.
  • Defending the will if the will is challenged during probate.
  • Managing all property that is part of the probate estate.
  • Securing valuations on property that is part of the estate.
  • Filing tax returns and paying any taxes required on the state or federal level.
  • Transferring title of real property and otherwise facilitating the transfer of all probate assets to new owners.

Executors or personal representatives are the individuals with the most responsibility during probate, so it is these individuals who most need to get legal help. You need to faithfully fulfill your obligations under Michigan probate law and comply with all lawful instructions the deceased left in his will if you are going to be an executor. An attorney should help you to make certain you can do that.

Who Should be Represented by an Attorney During Probate?

Because of their role in the probate and trust administration process, executors and personal representatives should pursue legal advice as soon as possible after death. An attorney provides assistance meeting time deadlines, taking care of technical court paperwork, and understanding duties so they can be fulfilled. Wheelihan Law can take the stress out of being an executor so you can do your duty to the deceased without worry.

Those who are going to inherit money or property in a will have a much more minimal role to play during probate. This does not mean, however, that you should not take steps to ensure that the property you inherit gets to you in a timely manner and is taken care of until you assume ownership. It is often a smart idea for those who will inherit to have a legal advocate on their side to provide information and guidance during the probate process and to make certain their rights are respected at all times.

Finally, there are certain situations where someone decides to challenge a will. If you believe that you have information about a problem with a will and do not think the will should be probated, we can talk with about raising a challenge. Wheelihan Law will help with the process of arguing against the validity of the will so you can make sure the true wishes of the deceased are respected.

Student Loan Law

Student loan debt is rising at alarming rates.  It is estimated that by the time they graduate, more than two-thirds of students at four year colleges and universities have student loan debt.

 

Student loan debt is different than any other types of debt because it is incurred to purchase an education.  It also differs because of the far reaching powers that the Federal Government (in the case of federal student loans) has in its collection powers.  In the event of a default, these powers go far beyond those of most unsecured creditors, including the ability to garnish a borrower’s wages without a judgment, seize the borrower’s tax refund (even an earned income tax credit), seize portions of federal benefit such as Social Security, and deny eligibility for new education loans or grants.

 

Due to the poor economy in recent years and its slow recovery coupled with lower wages student loan defaults are on the rise. 

 

The good news is that there is almost always something to challenge federal student loan collection actions (and in a majority of private loan situations as well) and either cancel a loan or set-up an affordable monthly payment plan.

 

It is imperative, however, that a borrower reach out before defaulting to avoid unnecessary fees related to a default.  In some cases filing Bankruptcy to discharge other debts may allow the borrower the breathing room to maintain an affordable student loan monthly payment. 

Student Loan Points

  • No statute of limitations (on federal loans)
  • Wage garnishment without a court order on defaulted federal loans
  • Generally non-dischargeable in Bankruptcy
  • Collectors are allowed to charge fees that create ballooning balances
  • Government can pursue borrowers to the grave

Student loan issues vary from person to person and are based upon the borrower’s own facts.  Please contact me to seek assistance with managing your student loan debt.

Services – Student Loans

  • Summarizing and teaching borrowers about different repayment options including pros and cons of each;
  • Assisting borrowers to get out of and stay out of default;
  • Handling any harassing and abusive debt collection conduct and if required suing the collector;
  • Determining if a borrower may qualify for and assisting with obtaining a discharge;
  • Representing borrowers that have been sued by lenders or the Department of Justice; and
  • Suing lenders, servicers, guarantors, and debt collectors that violate the law.

Contact Us About Your Needs

For a consultation, contact Wheelihan Law, PLLC today!  Simply complete the fields below and we’ll get back to you. I respond to email within 24 hours, but don’t check or reply during holidays, weekends and evenings.

After hours and weekend appointments available upon request.

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