Varnum LLP

333 Bridge Street NW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504, United States

Contact: Tamara Bergstrom

Should You Transfer Unused Gift and Estate Tax Exemptions to a Surviving Spouse? (Part II)

In our previous post, we discussed the advantages of portability as an estate planning tool. However, there are some non-tax reasons why a couple might not opt for planning of this type. Almost all relate in one way or another…more
| Taxation, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

President Obama Announces Plan for Executive Action on Immigration

Yesterday evening, President Obama announced his administration's plans to utilize executive action to reform the current immigration system. The announced plan includes the following employment-based immigration changes..…more
| Labor & Employment Law, Immigration Law

Ownership of Michigan Islands

Islands, large and small, can be found in many of Michigan's rivers and inland lakes. Some islands are just large enough to support a couple of trees and others boast spectacular homes or resorts. Big or small, islands are often…more
| Real Estate - Residential

Protecting Your Lake Association

Earlier this year I wrote about a lake association facing liability for activities on a lot maintained by the association and used for lake access. You can review that post. Though there is no way for any individual or entity to…more
| Business Organizations, Real Estate - Residential, Taxation

Should You Transfer Unused Gift and Estate Tax Exemptions to a Surviving Spouse? (Part I)

The word "portability" in an estate tax context refers to the ability to transfer a deceased spouse's unused gift and estate tax "exemption" (technically known as the "basic exclusion amount" or the "BEA") to the surviving…more
| Taxation, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

Tempting the Legal Finger of Fate: No Winners Here

Back in 2006, John Swartz and his wife Judy were driving through the Village of St. Johnsville, in New York, on the way to visit Judy's son. While sitting in the passenger's seat, John noticed a police car, whose occupant,…more
| Civil Rights

2015 COLAs for Employee Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2015 cost of living adjustments to various limits on employee benefit plans. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2015. Some of the adjusted amounts,…more
| Labor & Employment Law, Taxation

New Law Effective in 2015 is an Important Win for Cottage Owners

On October 9, 2014, PA 310 of 2014 (HB 5552) was signed into law by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. As stated in our previous blog, "Cottage Transfers of Ownership without Uncapping Property Tax Broadened Under Michigan House Bill",…more
| Real Estate - Residential, Taxation, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning

Growing Michigan - Third Quarter 2014

In This Issue: - Food and Drug Administration Not Required to Ban Antibiotics Given to Food-Producing Animals - U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Crop Insurance under 2014 Farm Bill - Lawmakers…more
| Agriculture, Energy & Utilities, Environmental Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use, Science, Computers, & Technology

Food and Drug Administration Not Required to Ban Antibiotics Given to Food-Producing Animals

A federal appeals court recently ruled that the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") does not have to ban the practice of feeding antibiotics to healthy, food-producing animals. This ruling is controversial because of public…more
| Agriculture, Environmental Law, Health, Science, Computers, & Technology

U.S. Department of Agriculture Expands Crop Insurance under 2014 Farm Bill

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently implemented provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill to expand insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers. The new Supplemental Coverage Option ("SCO") is designed to help protect…more
| Agriculture, Insurance

Lawmakers Hold Hearing on Improving Broadband Access in Rural Areas

The U.S. House Agricultural Committee's subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit, recently held a hearing to examine ways to improve and expand broadband in rural areas and to coordinate future investments…more
| Agriculture, Communications & Media Law, Zoning, Planning & Land Use

EPA Amends Clean Water Act Regulations to Require Sufficiently Sensitive Test Methods

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized amendments under the Clean Water Act that require permit applicants under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program to use "sufficiently…more
| Environmental Law

No Michigan Wolf Hunt for 2014

The Michigan Natural Resource Commission recently decided that it will not hold a wolf hunt this year, even if voters approve two referendums on the November 4 ballot permitting wolf hunting. The November 4 referendums ask…more
| Agriculture, Elections & Politics, Environmental Law

Proposed MAEAP Rules Narrow “Right to Farm” Protection

Proposed rule changes in the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) have excluded some farmers from MAEAP verification and protection…more
| Agriculture, Environmental Law, Personal Injury, Zoning, Planning & Land Use
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