Who needs estate planning?
Regardless of whether your estate is large or small everyone can benefit from estate planning. It’s important for all of us to designate someone to manage our assets and make health care and personal care decisions for us when we become unable to do so for ourselves.
If any of the questions below seem relevant to you, then an estate plan is important for you and your family to pursue.
- Who will receive your assets after your death?
- Who will pay your last debts?
- Who will make health care decisions for you if you are unable?
- Does your family know your feelings when it comes to life support?
- Would you like any of your assets donated to charity?
- Do you know how to preserve your assets for your beneficiaries and reduce or postpone the amount of estate tax which otherwise might be payable after your death?
- Do you have a Special Needs child?
- Do you have minor children?
- Do you have a blended family?
- Do you own generational property?
- Do you own out-of-state property?
- Do you or your spouse have a chronic illness?
When individuals fail to plan ahead, a judge appoints someone to handle your assets and personal care. Your assets will be distributed to your heirs according to a set of rules known as intestate succession. Under intestate succession your assets may not be given to your choice of heirs. An estate plan gives you control over who will inherit your assets after your death. If the court has trouble locating your heirs after a period of time, your estate will escheat (be given) to the State of Michigan.
How can a trust help you?
- Your trust will allow you to maintain control of your situation.
- Your trust can be designed to fit your specific needs.
- Your trust maintains the privacy that you and your family cherish.
- Your trust will save your family time and money during an emotionally difficult time.
- Your trust will save avoidable legal expenses.
- Your trust creates the plan for a difficult time for your family, and provides you peace of mind right now.
What Is probate?
Probate is the legal process your loved ones will go through upon death with OR without a will. A will is a legal directive from you telling the judge how you want your estate handled upon your death. If you have no will, the Court will, following Michigan law, direct to whom your assets should go.
Many times, well-meaning friends and family suggest ways to avoid Probate Court that sound reasonable, but in truth, can cause horrendous problems for the family if they are followed.
Remember, the cost to maintain your property and pay court fees are passed on to your family during that time. The average length of a probate proceeding is 9 months to 2 years, with the average cost totaling from 5 to 10% of the value of your estate.
How do I avoid probate court?
A Revocable Living Trust is the single best way for your family to avoid Probate Court and all the problems associated with it.
How is the value of your estate determined?
- The value of your home
- Vacation or rental property
- Bank accounts
- Savings accounts
- Personal property
What is a Revocable Living Trust?
A Revocable Living Trust is a legal document that holds the title of your property during your lifetime. It is often used by individuals who want to transfer the title of their property from them to their Revocable Living Trust for added protection. You are the primary trustee of your trust and retain control of all your assets during your lifetime. You also determine how your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries at your death. A Revocable Living Trust ensures that disputes are settled in a matter of weeks and save you and your family time and money.