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May 2013 Archives

Common reasons to consider broaching the topic of estate planning

Some of our Michigan readers may have trouble thinking of this figure: $5.25 million. When it comes to estate planning, however, this is actually a very important figure. $5.25 million is the limit of the federal estate tax exemption. What does that mean? It means that if the total value of an estate is below that threshold it will not be subject to taxation at the federal level. For many people, this will never be a concern because there is no way they would ever earn that sort of money, short of winning the lottery. Unfortunately, this type of thinking also sometimes leads people to think that they do not even need a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan. In reality, however, this is far from the truth.

What's best for tax planning and protecting inheritance?

With so many ways to approach estate planning, many people often have more questions than answers. What will the impact be on tax planning? What are the best documents to draft for protecting inheritance? What if I have children with special needs and I want to make sure they are taken care of? The list could go on and on. Fortunately, the simple answer to many of these question is this: trusts. However, there are many types of trusts for an individual or family to consider. One popular method, known as the "living trust," was recently the subject of a very informative article which tried to dispel certain myths about this particular estate planning device.

Estate planning and you - do you know the key parts of a will?

Almost all of our Michigan readers probably have a varying amount of assets, and most also have relatives. These two aspects of life may not mix well after a person dies, which is why estate planning is so crucial. Yes, it can be somewhat morbid to sit down and plan out what you would like to see happen to personal property after death, but doing so will spare family members and others the trouble of sorting through all of the legal issues that can come with a will contest or other probate litigation. But what exactly are the key aspects of a will? A recent article tackled that very subject, and it pointed out areas that some of our readers may not have considered before.

Small mistakes can have a big effect on your assets

Any of our Michigan readers who are familiar with previous posts here have seen many that cover topics ranging from the essential nature of drafting a will, the pros and cons of considering trusts in an estate plan and the importance of discussing the options and implications behind appointing a representative in a power of attorney document. A brief overview of the wide variety of possibilities may leave a reader thinking that estate administration is both complicated and expensive. But that doesn't have to be the case.

What do you need to know about the probate process?

Although the move to increase people's knowledge of the importance of estate planning seems to have picked up across the country in recent years, many people are probably still confused about the probate process. This is easily understandable. When a person says "probate," some people, even perhaps some of our Michigan readers, will say "what's that?" Conscious of the mystery that surrounds the needs and necessities included in estate planning and probate, the author of one recent article decided to approach the issue in a uniquely simple format: a Top-10 list.

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