Michigan Estate Planning Attorneys
A solid estate plan can provide a wide variety of benefits for you and your family. Some examples include:
- Ensuring that your loved ones are provided for after you pass away
- Empowering someone you trust to manage your financial affairs if you are incapacitated
- Leaving clear, actionable instructions for your medical care
- Allowing you to choose the person who will make medical decisions if you are unable to do so.
- Ensuring that a qualified, honest person administers your estate or trust
- Streamlining the process of passing property to save your family time and money
- Minimizing tax and administrative burdens on your heirs
Clearly, these issues are important to everyone. Yet, many Michigan residents neglect estate planning. Too many people believe that they don’t need wills and other estate planning documents. Some think they’re too young to worry about estate planning and have plenty of time to make provisions for their dependents. Others believe they don’t have enough assets to bother with estate planning, or assume that their property will automatically pass to the right people if they die without making provisions.
Core Elements of an Estate Plan
You’ve probably seen kits and online forms that allow you to create your own estate documents. Those do-it-yourself options are missing one very important element: the knowledge of an experienced estate planning attorney. The most effective estate plan is one that is fully customized to your circumstances, and that’s best achieved with the help of a seasoned professional.
Some of the most common elements in an effective estate plan include:
- A will or living trust
- A financial power of attorney
- A health care power of attorney
- An advance directive
Estate planning also involves making decisions about property that won’t necessarily be passed through your estate. For example:
- The role life insurance will play in your estate plan, and who will be your beneficiary
- How retirement accounts will pass after your death, and who will receive them
- How to title property, such as your residence, for the simplest and most cost-effective transition
And, these are just the fundamental considerations. You may also need to consider:
- Planned charitable giving
- Gift tax considerations
- Medicaid planning
- Special needs trusts
- Asset protection
- Succession planning for your business
If this sounds like a lot to think about, don’t worry. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Smith Bovill are prepared to put our skills and knowledge to work for you. We’ll invest the time and effort required to understand you, your family and your goals, then advise you on how best to achieve those goals.
Poor Estate Planning is Costly and Stressful
Some of the problems that arise when you haven’t made adequate provisions for your care and your estate include:
- Delays in distribution of assets to loved ones who may be dependent on them
- Conflicts among family members about who should make decisions and manage affairs
- Medical and financial decisions being made by someone you would not have chosen
- Dissipation of assets in probate litigation or other contested proceedings
- Unintended consequences, such as the need to liquidate property to pay creditors or make distributions to beneficiaries
- Added burden on your personal representative, who will have to identify assets, creditors, and heirs without your guidance
Talk to an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney as Soon as Possible
Most of us don’t want to think about becoming incapacitated or passing away unexpectedly. Unfortunately, avoiding the issue puts you and your family at risk. When you take charge of the future with a comprehensive estate plan, both you and your loved ones can rest easy, knowing that you are prepared.
You can take the first step toward protecting yourself and your family right now. Just call us in Saginaw at (989) 792-9641 or in Frankenmuth at (989) 652-9923, or contact us online.