A Trusted Adviser’s Insight Goes Beyond Research Data


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What do you do when you need to make an important decision regarding a legal situation, protecting your family and property, or finding a way to repurpose a beloved piece of furniture that has sentimental value? One thing you can do is research the topic and gather information from credible, authoritative resources. However, you may not be able to gain sufficient insight that’s directly applicable to your specific needs from research alone. That’s when it’s best to consult with a qualified expert.

Such an expert typically has devoted lots of time to gaining their valuable knowledge and has plenty of practical experience. More importantly, this person keeps up on the latest in their field, so they can readily interpret data and offer workable solutions for your particular inquiry. This is the type of expert who can easily become a trusted adviser — someone you can confidently rely on and contact whenever you require input on the same topic in the future.

The experts cited here, with specialties in family law, insurance, and antiques and home décor, are such trusted advisers and can provide helpful advice when you need it.

Q: My father left me a pair of handsome mahogany, upholstered armchairs. They’re well-made and comfortable, but look very traditional and out of place with my contemporary and mid-century décor. How can I update these antique chairs to work in my home?

A: When contemplating a fresh use for upholstered furniture, be mindful of three factors: color, texture, and pattern. A balanced and layered room utilizes a mix of all three.

Choose one of the three elements to guide your modernization of the chairs. Consider changing the color of the fabric, and/or the frames. Painting the frames in a glossy, bright color can highlight carved or sculptural details. Or, keep the frames as they are, and reupholster them in a solid neutral with bright-colored welting, such as fuchsia or lime, to accentuate the form.

For a texture-based update, consider reupholstering in a patent leather or a sumptuous velvet. A large-scale, graphic print will update a traditional chair, too — think chevron stripes or a bold, oversized floral. There are so many creative ways to approach this project. Check out Pinterest for inspiration, and see what speaks to you. Good luck!

Judy Frankel Antiques
Judy Frankel
Furniture/Home Décor
1748 Northwood Drive
Troy, MI 48084

Q: I’ve heard a lot about changes in the tax laws regarding alimony. What do I need to know?

A: The Tax Cut Jobs Act changed the long-standing tax treatment of alimony in divorce cases. For all divorces resolved after Jan. 1, 2019, alimony isn’t tax-deductible by the payor and isn’t taxable for the recipient. If you’re currently receiving or paying alimony in a case that was final prior to January 1, 2019, the new tax law won’t affect your payments, even if the amount of alimony is modified after Jan. 1, 2019.

The new tax law makes many important changes that affect divorce proceedings, which is uncharted territory for judges and attorneys. Therefore, it’s vital that parties to a divorce have highly experienced representation by professionals who have taken the time to learn the new tax code and its implications for their clients.

Eisenberg & Spilman, PLLC
Laura Eisenberg and Amy Spilman
Family Law
600 S. Adams Rd.
Birmingham, MI 48009

Q: How can families with young drivers reduce their auto premiums?

A: Parents of young drivers often experience sticker shock when purchasing auto insurance. Thankfully, there are programs and discounts to help make it more affordable. The good student discount requires the young driver to carry a 3.0 GPA. If a child is away at school and without a vehicle, that child will still have driving privileges, but at a reduced rate. Other programs allow parents to monitor their teens’ driving behaviors through a phone app; another program requires teens to take a course designed to help teach new drivers to anticipate possible hazardous situations. Any of these options will help keep your premiums down.

First Independent Descamps Insurance Agency
Jim Daniel, Agency Principal
Commercial and Personal Insurance
14500 Lakeside Circle
Sterling Heights, MI 48313


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