January 24th, 2013 by witzkeberry


At Witzke, Berry, Carter & Wander PLLC, you will find client-focused lawyers committed to assisting individuals, families and businesses throughout Michigan. We take the time to understand your current situation, and provide you with innovative, personalized solutions that address your specific needs and goals.

Our lawyers are experts in the areas of: Estate Planning and Probate Administration, Business Law and Commercial Transactions and Elder Law.

Estate Planning
Our estate planning services range from the very basic, such as wills and advanced medical directives, to sophisticated trusts, tax planning and asset protection planning. We can guide your family through the probate and estate administration process. Our lawyers also counsel and assist in the drafting and negotiation of pre-nuptial agreements.
Read More

Business Law and Commercial Transactions
We assist business owners at start-up, exit, and every stage in-between. Whatever the size of your business, we can help you select and create the best legal entity, assist with all of your commercial transactions and help develop a succession plan customized to meet your short and long term business goals. Our “team based” approach ensures that your personal and business assets will be protected and that you will experience a smooth and profitable transition when you choose to exit your business.
Read More

Elder Law
Americans are living longer than ever before, and many will eventually require long-term care. We help seniors and the people who love them obtain assistance from Medicaid, the Veterans Administration and other sources to meet the high costs of long-term care. We also provide assistance and guidance to help families cope during times of crisis.
Read More

Ultimately, we strive to provide you with informed counsel, maintain a long-lasting relationship and help you enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your interests are protected. We invite you to explore our website further to learn more about who we are and how we can assist you.

 

Estate Planning  Business Planning  Elder Law Planning

July 8th, 2013 by witzkeberry


Special-needs students come together in the kitchen and inspire!

The task at hand: 300 servings of vegetable soup and honey cake. Not easy to do, but chef Louis Ruttenberg’s kitchen crew was up for the challenge.

Joey Lerner, 27, ran an industrial can opener with aplomb, freeing diced tomatoes and kidney beans. Bradley Golub, 22, assembled ingredients for the honey cake. Kerry Kozlowski, 24, got the oil. Matt Gardner, 27, was to stir the soup and ensure it didn’t burn.

(Related: Caring for a Sibling With Special Needs)

It was an exquisite display in the kitchen to say the least.

Lerner, Golub, Kozlowski, Gardner, and four colleagues are all part of a pilot program that has been meeting twice a week since January at Congregation Beth El in Voorhees. Called Soups and Sweets, it is a state- and foundation-funded program of Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Services designed to give young adults with special needs employable food-service skills.

After graduation in mid-July, they will have had 200 hours of culinary training and will have earned a ServSafe Food Handler certificate from the National Restaurant Association. In addition, they have received coaching on workplace readiness skills from program coaches.

(Related: Reds third baseman promises batboy home run, delivers)

“People who hire people with special needs tend to have a dedicated, loyal employee,” said Barbara Abrams, Jewish Family and Children’s Services special-needs department director. “They don’t take the job for granted.”

Ruttenberg, a retired chef who had his own catering business, designed the course and wrote its manual. He admitted he initially had misgivings.

“But after a few weeks you stop looking at these people as special-needs. You just look at them as people,” Ruttenberg, a Cherry Hill resident, said. “The camaraderie is extraordinary,” he said.

“They understand how a kitchen works.”

All with some developmental disability, the children function on different levels but find a way to work together as one.

“The nicest thing is how supportive the students are of each other,” said Claire Laveglia, a retired special-education teacher from Medford Lakes who is one of the program’s job coaches.

(Related: Tax Deductions and Credits: Families and Their Children With Special Needs)

The students also make desserts and soup to supplement the Meals on Wheels delivered to seniors.

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130708_Special-needs_students_cook_up_special_dishes.html

Contact Michigan Special Needs Attorney Marc Wander  at 24-481-4000 for a free consultation, today.

May 22nd, 2013 by witzkeberry


Special-needs aides fighting dismissal for allegedly assaulting two special-needs students.

By Marc Wander

Last summer, two special-needs aides were fired in Columbus and continue to fight for their jobs, today. After a series of hearings before the Columbus Civil Service Commission, the final day of hearings for Fred Harrison and Leslie Polk took place Monday.

(Related: Caring for a Sibling With Special Needs)

Both Harrison and Polk were fired from Beatty Park Elementary after an incident occurred in one of the school’s seclusion rooms. Harrison is accused of assaulting two children in the restrictive rooms, meant for out-of-control children. Polk was fired for failing to report the abuse. She was accused of playing lookout while Harrison hurt a boy inside the room.

(Related: Reds third baseman promises batboy home run, delivers)

Closing arguments are expected late next month. There is little indication as to when the commission will decide whether to give them their jobs back.

Michigan estate planning attorney Marc Wander specializes in planning for children with special needs and makes himself available to any group or association to give his presentation on Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs. Contact Marc to discuss the advantages of a Special Needs Trust, or to arrange a presentation.

Read more: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/05/22/special-needs-aides-still-fighting-dismissal.html

May 16th, 2013 by witzkeberry


School bus carrying special needs struck by Semi near Indianapolis.

According to Indiana State Police a semitrailer has collided with a school bus carrying special-needs students on a highway near Indianapolis, injuring up to nine people.

(Related: JC Civitan Club Honors Special Needs Teachers)

State Police spokesman Capt. Dave Bursten says that none of the injuries are life-threatening. Bursten says that semi was changing lanes when it struck the bus, causing the bus to crash into the media and roll over.

Five students and four adults were taken to hospitals. Their conditions were not known at the time.

(Related: 5 Tax Deductions & Credits For Special Needs Families)

According to Bursten the accident occurred along Interstate 65 a few miles north of Indianapolis around 2 p.m.

Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/semi-hits-school-bus-carrying-special-kids-19195344

Mr. Witzke practices in the areas of estate and gift tax planningfinancial planning,  retirement planning, charitable giving,elder law, and small business planning. He focuses on helping clients grow, protect, and transfer wealth efficiently. Mr. Witzke is a past president and board member of the Financial Planning Association of Michigan, a member of the board of directors for Leadership Oakland, and a member of the planned giving advisory committees of Wayne State University and the Community House in Birmingham. Follow Mr. Witzke on Twitter @gr8estatelawyer.

May 14th, 2013 by witzkeberry


Special needs teachers honored by the JC Civitan Club

“The Johns Creek Special Needs Teacher of the Year award is our effort to highlight the important work these individuals do for the students.”

Three local educators were honored by the Johns Creek Civitan Club as Johns Creek Special Needs Teachers of the Year at the Standard Club in Johns Creek.

The honorees are Emily Boudreaux, Abbotts Hill Elementary School; Stephanie Hosley, River Trail Middle School; and Patty Nall, Johns Creek High School.

(Related: Teacher’s Aide, Caught On Tape Molesting Special Needs Student)

The three teachers were nominated by school principals, and the Civitan Club chose one elementary school, one middle school and one high school teacher to be honored this year.

“The Johns Creek Civitan Club is proud to honor these teachers,” said Doug Smith, president of the Johns Creek Civitan Club. “The Johns Creek Special Needs Teacher of the Year award is our effort to highlight the important work these individuals do for the students.”

(Related: 5 Tax Deductions & Credits For Special Needs Families)

A breakfast was held to honor all of the Johns Creek Special Needs Teacher of the year nominees.

Nominees included:

Elementary school: Boudreaux, Abbotts Hill; Shannon McMahon, Barnwell Elementary; Kim Richards, Dolvin Elementary; Kate Pornsopone, Findley Oaks Elementary; Lauren Carter, Medlock Bridge Elementary; Lindsey Edwards, State Bridge Crossing Elementary.

Middle school: Diane Merdinger, Autrey Mill Middle; Hosley, River Trail Middle.

High school: Catherine Wise, Centennial High; Catherine Clements-Keith, Chattahoochee High; Nall, Johns Creek High; Renae Thompson, Northview High.

(Related: Is Michigan Autism Plan a Step in the Right Direction, Bloomfield?)

Sponsors of the breakfast were Riley McLendon LLC, Whole Foods and 8ight.

The Johns Creek Civitan Club meets on the first and third Tuesday each month at 7:30 a.m. at the Standard Club, 6230 Abbotts Bridge Road, Johns Creek. Visit JohnsCreekCivitan.org for more information.

Michigan Estate Planning Attorney Marc Wander specializes in planning for children with special needs and makes himself available to any group or association to give his presentation on Planning for a Loved One with Special NeedsContact Marc to discuss the advantages of a Special Needs Trust, or to arrange a presentationFollow Marc on Twitter @MarcWander

Read more: http://www.northfulton.com/Articles-EDUCATION-c-2013-05-14-198806.114126-sub-JC-Civitan-Club-honors-special-needs-teachers.html

May 14th, 2013 by witzkeberry


After working more than 20 years in the district, Gutierrez has been arrested for molesting a female student with special needs.

By Marc Wander

Juan Carlos Gutierrez, a 60-year-old teacher’s aide in Lawndale, California was allegedly caught on surveillance video molesting a female special needs student.

(Related: Caring for a Sibling With Special Needs)

Gutierrez has been charged with three counts of molesting a child. According to the police the 16-year-old victim had the mental capacity of an elementary school-aged child.

Police say on May 7, other Leuzinger High School students saw Gutierrez go into a stairwell with the student and inappropriately touch her.

(Related: New Report Finds 1 In 50 School Kids In U.S. Have Autism)

Also, the sheriff’s department obtained a statement by Redondo Beach Patch claiming that the entire incident was captured on surveillance video as well.

Gutierrez was arrested Friday evening after working for the school for more than 20 years.

“With this type of behavior, we definitely want to explore the possibility of additional victims being out there,” Los Angeles County Sgt. Dan Scott said.

(Related: 5 Tax Deductions & Credits For Special Needs Families)

Superintendent Jose Fernandez told the Telegram that “the district responded to the report by taking immediate action to report the incident to law enforcement and to remove the individual from the campus.”

Michigan Estate Planning Attorney Marc Wander specializes in planning for children with special needs and makes himself available to any group or association to give his presentation on Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs. Contact Marc to discuss the advantages of a Special Needs Trust, or to arrange a presentationFollow Marc on Twitter @MarcWander

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/juan-gutierrez-teachers-aide-molests-special-ed-student_n_3272161.html

May 14th, 2013 by witzkeberry


Siblings with Special Needs can be a tremendous source of financial and physical stress.

Often referred to as the “sandwich generation”, those who raise their children while taking care of elderly parents while also watching over a third generation. And more frequently that generation is your own — that of a brother or sister with special needs.

(Related: Reds third baseman promises batboy home run, delivers)

Recently an Easter Seals Siblings Disability Study survey reported that while 80 percent of respondents expected to eventually be their sibling’s primary caregiver, only 33 percent believed they were financially prepared to oneday assume that role. Also, it was noted that more than 65 million people — 29 percent of the population in the United States — provides care for a chronically ill, disabled or elderly family member or friend in any given year, logging an average of 20 hours a week. A significant portion of that care is for an adult brother or sister, the survey noted.

There are Federal programs that serve as a financial safety net net for people with special needs like Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Regardless, siblings still become overwhelmed as a result of extensive costs or the burden of making someone else’s financial decisions for them.

(Related: Tax Deductions and Credits: Families and Their Children With Special Needs)

“There can be a lot of guilt for brothers and sisters of adults with special needs,” says Mary Jo Coiro, division director of behavior health and assessment services at the Loyola Clinical Centers, a wellness clinic in Baltimore. “If he or she lived with the parents, they’ll sometimes wonder, ‘Am I a bad person for putting my sibling in a group home?’”

If you have a sibling with a developmental disability, here are some issues to start considering, if you haven’t already.

Start talking to your parents now

Forty-five-year-old Jeff Alt is a speech language pathologist in Mason, Ohio, and frequently visits his brother Aaron, 40, who lives in Maumee, Ohio, 180 miles away. Aaron, 40, was born with cerebral palsy, lives in a group home called Sunshine, and requires constant care for even the most fundamental tasks and can’t communicate verbally.

(Related: Is Michigan Autism Plan a Step in the Right Direction, Bloomfield?)

“We can only guess what he can understand,” Alt says, “but he’s still spunky and smiley.”

Alt hiked 2,160 miles of the Appalachian Train as part of a fundraising effort for Sunshine and wrote the book, “A Walk for Sunshine” to document the experience. But becoming legal guardian is no easy task, and even Alt, who has four brothers and sisters, isn’t certain who will someday take over their father’s role as legal guardian.

“It’s easy to just not think about,” admits Alt, who is married and has two young kids.

Look into a legal guardianship

Eventually, you – or another sibling will have to take over as guardian, provided you wish to be directly involved with your brother or sister’s caregiving.

(Related: Americans In Denial About Reality of Long-Term Care)

“If you’re in the position where something has to be done now, that’s one of the first things you should do,” Gruszkos says.

Michigan estate planning attorney Marc Wander specializes in planning for children with special needs and makes himself available to any group or association to give his presentation on Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs. Contact Marc to discuss the advantages of a Special Needs Trust, or to arrange a presentation.

Read more: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/05/14/caring-for-a-sibling-with-special-needs

April 23rd, 2013 by witzkeberry


Join Michael Witzke and Marc Wander tonight from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. for the Dine & Learn, Estate Planning for a Family Member with Special Needs Seminar Series at Oakland University.

Topics covered will include: How to create a life care plan, Special Needs Trusts, and Social Security benefits for special needs family members. Dinner will be served in the Oakland Center Oakland Room.

Kindly refer any questions to giftplan@oakland.edu or call (248) 364-6117 (extension 6117 if on-campus). Attendees will receive an updated wills guide to facilitate planning for the future.


April 22nd, 2013 by witzkeberry


By Marc Wander

Have you forgotten what pure joy looks like?

Ted Kremer is a lifelong Reds fans who has Down syndrome. In the sixth inning of the Red’s 11-1 win over the Marlins on Thursday, third baseman Todd Frazier promised batboy Kremer a home run and didn’t disappoint.

(Related: Tax Deductions and Credits: Families and Their Children With Special Needs)

It was an electric evening.

Kremer was serving as the Reds’ honorary batboy in August after his parents bid for the opportunity in a charity auction. The players and executive were so impressed by Kremer’s knowledge and energy that they invited him back on Thursday.

(Related: 10 Technology Resources for the Autism Community)

“That’s as good as it gets right there.”

“He is so funny,” Frazier told Cincinnati.com. “He said, ‘come on man, hit me a home run. I love you.’ And I said ‘I love you, too. I’ll hit you one. It was great how excited, that look, I started smiling before I even hit home plate.

(Related: Is Michigan Autism Plan a Step in the Right Direction, Bloomfield?)

“He’s such a great guy… Even if you have a terrible day, you can’t be mad with a guy like that around.”

Following the game Twitter was buzzing with excitement and appreciation for the special moment. The world could surely use a whole lot more of what took place on this particular spring night in Cincinnati. See the video at the link below.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/04/19/todd-frazier-reds-hits-home-run-for-batboy/2096517/

Marc H. Wander is a partner of the Bloomfield Hills law firm of Witzke, Berry, Carter &Wander, PLLC. Marc has been licensed to practice law in Michigan since 1992. Marc’s practice is devoted to estate planning and business succession planning.  Marc is a member of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan and is a prior Chairperson of the Oakland County Bar Association Tax Committee. He is a frequent continuing education speaker to insurance agents, financial advisors, CPA’s and financial industry organizations. He has also been heard on WJR Radio. Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcWander

April 16th, 2013 by witzkeberry


By Mike Witzke

The Special Needs Group (SNG) has furthered its commitment to “Delivering an Accessible World” and upgraded its web portant to feature a previously unseen, comprehensive one-stop cruise line accessibility content resource. It is the most content heavy resource detailing accessibility features available in the cruise industry.

(Related: A “Regular Guy” Lights Up Mackinaw Bridge As Beacon for Autism Awareness)

The SNG has partnered with the Norwegian Cruise line to launch its ship accessibility portal at www.specialneedsatsea.com/cruise-accessibility/ , which offers in-depth accessibility information about all ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet. The Special Needs Group will continue to add ships/cruise lines to the portal until all ships with accessible features utilized by the North American market have been included.

SNG President and CEO Andrew Garnett announced, “Part of our corporate responsibility includes educating professionals, as well as the traveling public, how the freedom of travel is more readily available now than ever before.” Garnett continued, “We have made great progress, but our mission is far from complete. We believe that by creating and providing access to relevant content, most of which is information as opposed to commercially driven, we will accelerate this goal.

(Related: Tax Deductions and Credits: Families and Their Children With Special Needs)

Earlier in 2013, SNG introduced three collateral assets: Ship Accessibility Checklist, Mobility Scooter/Power Chair Etiquette, and Scooter/Power Chair DO’s and Don’ts – to better assist professional travel agents to serve Americans with disabilities and special needs. You can discover each of the resources in the Travel Agent section of the company’s website at www.specialneedsgroup.com.

Visit http://www.specialneedsatsea.com/cruise-accessibility/

April 11th, 2013 by witzkeberry


By Marc Wander

The Special Needs Network (SNN) is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that has partnered with the County of Los Angeles to host an anti-bullying summit to empower students of LA County’s 2nd District to stand up against bullying and school violence.

The summit, iStand4Peace, will provide an opportunity for local students to learn more about the devastating effects of bullying, Friday, April 12. The event will be held at the Town and Gown Hall on the campus of the University of Southern California from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

(Related: A “Regular Guy” Lights Up Mackinaw Bridge As Beacon for Autism Awareness)

Attendees will be welcomed by LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Areva Martin, Esq., SNN’s co-founder and president, and encouraged to stand up against bullying. The agenda for the event includes motivational speakers, including 13-year-old singer, songwriter and author Shanaya Fastje, who will share her personal bullying story to the anticipated crowd of more than 350 students.

(Related: Tax Deductions and Credits: Families and Their Children With Special Needs)

Bullying is a national epidemic but teaching our children about right and wrong starts at home,” says Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, who is also a former high school teacher. “We are grateful that Areva and her team approached us about being involved with this important event.”

Students will also participate in nonviolence workshops, and watch “The Bully Effect,” a documentary produced by CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

(Related: 10 Technology Resources for the Autism Community)

“It’s time for every community in our country to come together and teach our children the importance of being kind,” says Martin. “The effort to stop bullying starts with one’s self. That is the message we are trying to convey to all students including educating them on the devastating effects of bullying on students with autism and other special needs.”

Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/special-needs-network-county-supervisor-host-county-largest-040217304.html;_ylt=A2KJ2Par.2ZR6GIA0UfQtDMD

Marc H. Wander is a partner of the Bloomfield Hills law firm of Witzke, Berry, Carter &Wander, PLLC. Marc has been licensed to practice law in Michigan since 1992. Marc’s practice is devoted to estate planning and business succession planning.  Marc is a member of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan and is a prior Chairperson of the Oakland County Bar Association Tax Committee. He is a frequent continuing education speaker to insurance agents, financial advisors, CPA’s and financial industry organizations. He has also been heard on WJR Radio. Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcWander