Michigan lawmakers pass bills to curb license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees

The Michigan Senate on Thursday approved criminal justice reform bills that would end automatic driver's license suspensions for unpaid fines and fees not related to dangerous driving.

Read more at The Detroit Free Press

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IRS Announces Higher Estate And Gift Tax Limits for 2020

An article from October 2020 provides good information for estate planning purposes:

"...the official estate and gift tax limits for 2020: The estate and gift tax exemption is $11.58 million per individual, up from $11.4 million in 2019. That means an individual can leave $11.58 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or gift tax, while a married couple will be able to shield $23.16 million.

The annual gift exclusion amount remains the same at $15,000.

Warning: The $23.16 million number per couple isn’t automatic. An unlimited marital deduction allows you to leave all or part of your assets to your surviving spouse free of federal estate tax. But to use your late spouse’s unused exemption—a move called “portability” — you must elect it on the estate tax return of the first spouse to die, even when no tax is due. The problem is if you don’t know what portability is and how to elect it, you could be hit with a surprise federal estate tax bill.

While Republican death tax foes hope to make the doubled exemption permanent, Democratic presidential hopefuls say they’ll bring it back to its 2009 level of $3.5 million, with a graduated tax rate up to 77%, compared to today’s flat 40% rate.

If you are interested in exploring your estate planning options, please feel free to contact me: 616-257-3300.

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House OKs court-ordered changes to Michigan's sex offender registry

The changes bring the state law more in line with the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

Read more at The Detroit News

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New Michigan law to wipe clean misdemeanors, minor offenses

The seven-bill package, the “Clean Slate” laws, was passed by the state House and Senate with bipartisan support. Under the legislation, misdemeanors will be automatically expunged seven years after sentencing, with felonies handled the same way 10 years after sentencing or the end of a sentence.

Read more at the Ionia Sentinel-Standard

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Interesting Resolutions From the 2019-2020 Legislature

Members of the Michigan House and Senate introduce hundreds of mostly non-binding resolutions each year. Most are uncontroversial expressions of sentiment passed by a “voice vote” only with no roll call taken. This report describes some more substantive examples that were adopted with roll call votes

Read more at Mackinac Center

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