What does Estate Planning mean in Michigan?

What does Estate Planning mean in Michigan?

Estate planning can mean many different things and is different for different people.  Some people in Michigan view estate planning as having life insurance because they will have something in place for their loved ones if they die.  Others feel that having a will or trust in place is what they need.  Some people think that having their financial plan through their financial planner is an estate plan.  Then there are those who feel that having a power of attorney for healthcare is enough.  The answer is that Estate Planning if what you want it to be.  The role of an estate planning attorney in Michigan is help you understand your options so you can make an informed decision.

What do people typically include in their estate planning?

Most people that I meet with decide that, at the very minimum, they want a will and a power of attorney for healthcare.

A will is a legal document that serves as instructions or directions to a court for how you want your belongings and assets distributed.  The will has to follow certain laws, but as long as everything is drafted correctly and follow the law, then the court will honor the will.  This prevents the court from applying Michigan law for where your things and assets go.  This is important because not everyone has the perfect family situation.

Powers of attorney for healthcare are also addressed because just like the will, people don’t want the government making decisions for them.  In this instance, people don’t want the government making healthcare decisions on their behalf applying Michigan law.  This also applies to unmarried adult children like college students.  Powers of attorney for healthcare for unmarried adult children is an area that is often overlooked.

Does everyone need a Trust?

Not everyone needs a trust.  Trusts are legal documents that act as instructions for the trustees to follow.  In other words, there is a pile of assets and belongings that are owned by a trust, and a trustee manages or maintains the trust for the named beneficiaries. That is a very simplified way of looking at what a trust is.

There are many types of trusts, each of them having their own specific purpose.  Some people have a need for them, while others want the other benefits.  Generally speaking, the three main benefits of having a trust in Michigan are privacy, probate avoidance, and flexibility.  Trusts are non-public and are not submitted to the court as public record.  They are also very flexible so you can do a variety of things in a trust that a will does not allow.

As you can see Estate Planning can be simple or complicated, but the most important thing is that you know your options so you can make an informed decision on how you want to organize your estate.  If you have any questions or want to meet for a complimentary consultation, please don’t hesitate to call me at (734) 887-6079.  During out meeting we can address your estate planning options for Michigan residents.