People that are approaching their 18th birthday often look forward to obvious milestones such as moving out of the house. What some people fail to consider, however, is that many of the protections enjoyed as a juvenile aren't in place after they the age of 18. Michigan adults, even if they're still quite young, should consider drafting an estate plan to ensure that some basic wishes are spelled out in a legal fashion.
Prior to becoming an adult, your parents could make decisions for you if something happened that rendered you incapacitated. Once you turn 18, if you don't have a plan in place, your family will likely have to turn to probate court to make some of these decisions. By writing a will, you can make your wishes clearly known instead. If something happens to you after you make an estate plan, this plan gives your family members legal grounds to follow your wishes.
One of the basic components of a will is spelling out how you will divide your personal property. All of your valuables and assets should be covered in the will. You also need to choose a personal representative who will be in charge of administering your estate. This is the person who will pay your bills, in addition to gathering and distributing your assets.
Another important person to appoint includes your medical power of attorney. This person can make medical decisions for you, including whether you should be placed on or removed from life support in Michigan, where a living will isn't recognized.
Your estate plan is something that should be checked periodically. You should review it whenever your circumstances change, such as when you get married, divorced, have children or retire. Generally you can't plan for more than 10 years in advance. As you work on your estate plan documents, getting help from an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney can help to ensure that your wishes will be followed if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.
Source: tctimes.com, "One document every person needs" Sally Rummel, Jan. 17, 2014