Caputo Brosnan P.C. Newsletter
 October 2014
In This Issue
ABA Free Webinar
Milton Friedman Quotes
Succession Planning
Wolf Hunt Ballot Proposal
Dead Man Walking






Free Legal Tips


The American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law will hold a free public webinar - "Estate Planning: How to Get Going and Why Not to Do It Yourself" highlighting National Estate Planning Awareness Week October 19 - 25.


The free webinar will be held:


Thursday, October 23, 2014

at 1:00 p.m.


Legal experts will discuss how to get started with estate planning including wills, powers of attorney and trusts.


Statistical studies show that 55 percent of Americans die without a will or estate plan. The free webinar will also clarify why simply signing a will or power of attorney with a "do it yourself" plan may be worse than doing nothing, costing a special needs family member the loss of government benefits or resulting in a former spouse mistakenly inheriting assets.








Milton Friedman won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1976. The 102nd anniversary of his birth just passed so in honor of his favored "invisible hand" of the free market, below are some of Friedman's most notable quotes:


"The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit."


"Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another."


"A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both."


"When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in Soviet Union - like public housing in the United States - look decrepit within a year or two of their construction."


"Concentrated power is not rendered harmless by the good intentions of those who create it."


"One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results."


"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there'd be a shortage of sand."


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Company Succession Planning


Succession planning is an important business topic that should be planned diligently. In the future leadership transitions will be occurring on an unprecedented scale. The need to succession plan will be paramount for every company.


Leadership transition can be a hazardous time for any company. An environment of uncertainty exists for internal and external shareholders that can have a negative effect on short term and long term results. This transition may be a distraction and can decrease productivity and results. Uncertainty also exists with the company's key customers and can affect customer loyalty and top line revenue.


Solid succession planning is good business. Succession planning requires thoughtful governance policies and planning, an internal assessment of potential candidates, identification of potential successors for each of the key positions within a company, and under what conditions an external search should be initiated. When succession planning is done correctly, the passing of the baton is a smooth "nonevent."


We will be pleased to assist you in preparing your company's succession plan to make the transition non-eventful. Contact our office to schedule a consultation.






In the upcoming general election on November 4, voters will be asked to consider two ballot proposals dealing with the same subject - wolf hunting. While a yes vote on either or both Proposal 14-1 and Proposal 14-2 would permit a wolf hunt during the 2014 season, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC), which would gain authority to establish such a hunt, has indicated that regardless of the statewide vote in November that it would not schedule a hunt this year.


Proposal 14-1 is a referendum on Public Act (PA) 520 of 2012. PA 520 names wolves as a game species and allows the NRC to establish annual wolf hunting seasons. This act led to the first wolf hunt in Michigan in 50 years in 2013, which resulted in 22 wolves killed.


Proposal 14-2 is a referendum on PA 21 of 2013. PA 21 was enacted in response to the referendum on PA 520; the referendum temporarily suspended wolf hunting in Michigan. PA 21 authorizes the NRC and the legislature to designate a species as game, allowing a wolf hunt to proceed.


Regardless of the vote outcomes on the two referenda, the NRC has indicated that there will not be sufficient time following the November election to schedule a hunt this season. It has stated publicly that there will be no wolf hunt during the 2014 season. The NRC's decision effectively renders moot, the two referenda votes as they pertain to wolf hunting this season.


These referenda will not affect wolf hunting beyond 2014 because a separate citizen-led initiative, the Scientific Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (SFWCA) was enacted on August 27, 2014. The SFWCA, which takes effect 90 days after the adjournment of this legislative session, reaffirms the powers of the NRC listed above and clears the way for future wolf hunts starting in the 2015 season.


This analysis was originally published by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC). The CRC's full report describing the 2013 wolf hunt, the history behind the two ballot proposals, the Citizen-led SFWCA and the NRC's recent actions to forego a 2014 wolf hunt is available on the CRC website:




A judge in Ohio has ruled that a man declared legally dead after he disappeared in 1994 still is legally dead. Even though the man was in court asking the judge to declare him not dead.


Donald Eugene Miller, Jr. was ruled legally dead in 1994, eight years after he disappeared from his Arcadia home. Judge Allan Davis, who ruled Mr. Miller as legally dead in 1994, ruled in October 2013 that in the eyes of the law, Mr. Miller's request for reversal came long after the three year legal limit for changing a death ruling.


Mr. Miller's ex-wife had asked the court for a death ruling after Mr. Miller's disappearance in order to secure social security benefits to be paid to their two children. Mr. Miller fled the state in 1994 to avoid paying overdue child support and serving jail time.


Judge Davis called this case a "strange, strange situation." He stated that although it's obvious that Mr. Miller was alive, the three year time limit on the death ruling is clear and Mr. Miller was still considered deceased as far as the law was concerned.