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October 2013 Archives

Is long-term care an essential part of an estate plan?

Many Michigan readers may believe that estate planning involves simply planning for how assets will be distributed after they die. While that is a good start, it does not include everything. A comprehensive estate plan encompasses quite a bit more, including planning for the later years of a person's life and trying to anticipate the issues that may occur. That is why most estate plans include powers of attorney - documents which designate an appointed person to make financial or medical care decisions, should the planner become incapacitated. This type of scenario does not happen to everyone, but almost everyone does get older and has medical issues that need to be addressed.

When should Michigan residents consider a trust?

For Michigan residents considering which estate planning instruments are the right ones for their unique situation, the wide variety of options can be daunting. However, for the most part, the basic building blocks of a good comprehensive estate plan are, at the very least, a will, powers of attorney and an advanced medical care directive. These documents will provide directions on how to distribute assets, appoint the right people to make crucial decisions if needed by the incapacity of the planner and express wishes as to what type of care the planner wants in an end-of-life medical situation. But what about trusts?

Don't make the mistake of thinking a will is all you need

Our Michigan readers are probably familiar with numerous posts here that have detailed the many various parts that can make up a comprehensive estate plan. Considering the benefits of trusts, long-term planning and powers of attorney is part of evaluating which components are right for each individual or family's situation. With so many options to consider, most Michigan residents would probably think that over-planning is more likely to occur than coming up short. But, according to a recent article, having an estate plan that is less than comprehensive is one of the more common mistakes in estate planning.

How important is selecting an executor for business owners?

Most of our Michigan readers probably know that estate plans are very specific to each individual's situation. For instance, a Michigan resident of even modest means will need a will to designate property distribution and appoint guardians for minor children. However, someone with substantial assets may need more than a will. An estate plan for a wealthy person could include a number of different trusts, designed with separate and specific goals in mind. Every person's estate plan will differ depending on who they want to receive their assets and by what means they would like to achieve their goals. A recent article, however, focused on one type of person in particular - business owners.

Probate litigation focuses on undue influence, competency

When many people have an estate plan drafted they name charities as beneficiaries. This can happen for any number of reasons, but in many situations this is a popular option for people who do not have any close family or friends as potential heirs to the estate in question. What some of our Michigan readers may not realize, however, if that if any type of probate litigation arises due to questions surrounding bequests to charities a state's Attorney General may have grounds to get involved.

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