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Steps to create estate plan

Michigan individuals who are interested in developing an estate plan can make a more effective plan by following a few steps. One such step is to create a living revocable trust. Taking this step can help protect assets, avoid probate and provide for minor or disabled children after a person's passing. Additional steps can provide an even greater safety net.

One of the first steps to take is to derive an evaluation of one's assets. Individuals should make a list of all of their assets, including 401(k) accounts, IRAs, life insurance policies, trusts, bank accounts and real estate. To be organized, a person should get together the title of each account and write down the value of each account. Next, an individual should consider how to carry out their wishes if they become incapacitated or if they are otherwise unavailable to make important financial decision. A power of attorney allows another person to handle the financial affairs of another person. An individual should be careful to appoint only someone whom they trust.

Another important aspect of an estate plan is a will. The will can help ensure that a person has his or her final wishes carried out. Parents can also name a guardian for their children in a will. They may also appoint a custodian of money for their children and a personal representative to handle the estate upon a person's passing. Preventing problems from popping up later include talking over an estate plan with loved ones and letting them know where important legal and financial documents are located.

Michigan estate planning lawyers may be able to assist individuals who want an estate plan. They may be able to draft important documents, such as living revocable trusts, wills, powers of attorney and health care proxies.

Source: FOX Business, "How to Make Estate Planning Less Complex", Casey Dowd, August 22, 2013

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