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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Estate Planning: Things to Consider in Michigan

Estate planning involves structuring the disposition of one's assets. Estate plans should account for expected and unexpected life events, and they commonly address the way in which assets will be distributed in both life and death. Below are some things to consider when starting the estate planning process in Michigan.

Wills

Wills are a common part of the estate planning process. A will is a document that addresses the subject of property distribution after death. This is accomplished by specifically identifying beneficiaries and property to be distributed. However, some types of assets are distributed in ways other than by will. For example, some types of life insurance policies and retirement accounts have beneficiary designations that take precedent over a will's terms.

Trusts

For parents who have children, the use of trusts should be considered during the estate planning process. Trusts are an excellent way to ensure that children are cared for in the event of a parent’s death. In addition, trusts can prevent young children from inheriting money in a lump sum, and this allows parents to ensure that their assets won’t be wasted.

Power of attorney

Those undergoing the estate planning process should strongly consider drafting both durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney documents. Both documents are important, as they identify a designated individual or individuals with the authority to make health care and financial decisions on the drafter’s behalf.

Naming an executor

An executor makes sure that one's will is executed in accordance with its terms. Executors are usually given the authority to hire professionals like attorneys, financial advisors, accountants, and others to assist with the estate settlement process. It's important to designate both a primary and successor executor during the estate planning process in order to ensure that this area is sufficiently addressed.

Naming a guardian

For those individuals who have children, it’s important that a guardian be named during the estate planning process. A guardian is an individual who is assigned to care for minor children in the case of a parent’s death. If a parent fails to name a guardian during the estate planning process, then the decision will fall upon the courts after the parent’s death.

Michigan Estate Planning Attorneys

Estate planning can be difficult, and it’s easy to overlook important steps when attempting to navigate the process. Therefore, we highly recommend that you consider contacting an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss your options. Establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Proper estate planning not only puts you in charge of your finances, but it can also significantly reduce the expense, delay, and frustration experienced by your loved ones upon your passing or incapacitation. If you’d like to begin the estate planning process, please contact one of our experienced Michigan attorneys for a consultation.

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