Helping You Utilize Estate Planning Tools
Thinking about and planning for your own mortality is never easy, however, an effective estate plan not only provides for the disposition of your estate upon your death, but also addresses who will make decisions for you and handle your affairs in the event you are unable to do so on your own. A will and/or trust can reduce the likelihood of future disputes among your family and heirs, reduce or eliminate estate tax liability and reduce the likelihood of future probate court involvement.
At Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C., our estate planning attorneys firmly believe that everyone should have an estate plan regardless of the size of your estate, age, health or family dynamics. Contact our law firm to learn more about how we can help plan for your family’s future.
What Tools Are Available To Me?
Estate plans are not one size fits all, and your attorney can show the available tools to help you create a customized plan. Various documents and tools exist that can help you plan what will happen to your estate in the event of your death or disability. These include:
- Wills to express your last wishes
- Durable powers of attorney for health care, which are sometimes referred to as living wills or medical powers of attorney
- Financial powers of attorney to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you
- Revocable and irrevocable trusts, including cottage trusts
When creating your comprehensive estate plan, our lawyers will ensure your plan addresses additional elder law concerns and prevents potential issues. These include:
- Creditor issues in estate administration
- Elder law concerns such as Medicaid planning
- Breach of fiduciary duty when an executor breaks trust
- Ensuring compliance with Michigan probate laws
These and many other estate planning tools are effective in clearly communicating your wishes to your heirs and eliminating future disputes over your care, finances and the distribution of your property. Contact our Michigan law office immediately to begin protecting your estate, planning for your future and providing for the ultimate disposition of your estate.
Avoiding Common Mistakes In Estate Planning
During our years of practice in estate law, we have seen individuals make mistakes when creating an estate plan or attempting to settle an estate. Let us help you avoid these common issues:
- Waiting too long to create an estate plan. The most common, and the most costly, mistake is not having an estate plan at all. Most people realize that estate planning needs to be done, but simply procrastinate believing there is plenty of time. Waiting until there are serious health issues, or an urgent situation can be problematic if the individual in need of an estate plan is no longer competent or able to execute the much-needed estate plan documents.
- Relying on family members to carry out your wishes. Some people do not prepare an estate plan because they believe their family knows their wishes and that their family will carry out those wishes. Instead, individuals will add the name of just one of their children to their bank account or home because they firmly believe that child will be “fair” and will distribute their estate exactly as they wanted. But more often than not, resentments and/or disagreements arise, and the children are left arguing about what Mom or Dad would have wanted.
- Taking legal advice from friends and family to “avoid probate.” Taking advice from family and friends, without seeking the advice of a skilled attorney, is dangerous and often results in unintended consequences. People are often told by well-meaning friends or family to add someone’s name to the deed to their home or to their bank account. However, these actions can cause unintended gift and estate tax issues, loss of control over your own property and/or liens or garnishments against your property by the creditors of another.
- Using online forms. Some believe that a handwritten will or the completion of an online form will accomplish their goals. These may seem like a good (and inexpensive) idea, but they are not typically unique to the state you live in, and they don’t allow for as many options or address certain contingencies. However, because they ask a limited number of predetermined questions and spit out a form based on your responses, they typically cannot or do not address more complicated situations such as second marriages and blended families, disinheriting an heir, or what happens to the inheritance of an heir if that heir should predecease you.
Get The Process Started With A Free Initial Consultation
Save your family from any disagreement about your wishes by seeking the advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer. If you have questions regarding estate planning in Michigan, contact our office online or call 877-354-0660 to schedule your free initial consultation. We offer evening and weekend appointments based on the needs of our clients.