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February 2013 Archives

What is the best way to designate property distribution?

One of the primary goals of estate planning is to designate property distribution upon death. But, what is the best way to plan for this? When a person is trying to get more information about an estate plan, anyone helping them draft their will and all of the other appropriate documents will need just as much, if not more, information from the planner about their intentions, assets and relatives. Is there a good way to compile this information and then go through the tough choices involved in divvying up personal property? A recent article set out one option, called the "Four P's": People, Property, Plans and Planners.

What is the best way to avoid probate litigation?

Most of our Michigan readers know that one of the ultimate goals of estate planning is to avoid costly and time consuming probate litigation. Probate and estate administration can be difficult enough at times without having to worry about an heir or potential heir bringing a claim forward in an attempt to de-legitimize a will. However, what many of our readers may not know is that it is ultimately up to the estate planner themselves to stay on point in the effort to make sure a probate court fight does not ensue after they pass.

Tax planning for the future - what changes do you need to make?

Our Michigan readers who are familiar with previous posts here know that when it comes to protecting inheritance, there are numerous options available. Whether the primary goal is tax planning to pay the minimum amount necessary, or to make absolutely positive a designated beneficiary receives exactly what the estate planner wants them to receive, trusts can be one of the best options. However, our readers are probably also familiar with the fact that the United States Congress recently passed some new tax laws. In light of those changes, how are trusts going to be affected?

Is a will the most important part of an estate plan?

When many of our readers think about estate planning, wills are most likely the first documents to come to mind. A will is the bedrock document of any solid estate plan. If a person has a will, they are off to a good start when it comes to protecting assets for future generations and beneficiaries. But is a will all that is needed?

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