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January 2014 Archives

Taking the first step to protect assets and plan accordingly

Anyone who works in the field of estate planning would probably be able to tell our readers that the biggest hurdle for Michigan residents to overcome in the process is taking the first step. Like a major house project that has been put off for months or years, many people view estate planning as some herculean task that once begun will be more trouble than it is worth. For the vast majority of people, however, that could not be farther from the truth.

Using trusts to protect estate -- and the pet?

There are many reasons for Michigan residents to put together an estate plan. And, for as many different reasons that there are to get started, there are just as many different options to consider. For instance, for some people, protecting inheritance and making sure that assets get passed to the right person is the main goal. Others will want to make sure that they are taking advantage of every tax planning tactic available to ensure that the most amount of assets possible will be passed on. For each different goal different options will be relevant. However, for a growing segment of the population, making plans to make sure a beloved pet is cared for is a top priority.

Administration of probate process is shrouded in mystery for some

Many people go their entire lives without ever having to be involved in the probate process. Nowadays people are living longer, which often has the unintended result of many people using up all of their assets prior to death, with nothing much of value to pass on to their heirs. And, as anyone familiar with previous posts here knows by now, there are still many people who don't have an estate plan, even though they probably should. All of these factors, combined with the relatively infrequent contact most people have with a probate court, can result in a bit of mystery surrounding probate, and especially probate administration.

Power of attorney is important for everyone - even young adults

Many Michigan residents may think that estate planning is something that only older Americans need to worry about. This type of thinking can come from the view that an estate plan's main purpose is to distribute a person's assets after they die. While there is some truth to that view, there are many more components of an estate plan that need to be considered. And, as a recent article pointed out, young people - even 18-year-olds - would probably benefit from having at least a basic estate plan in place.

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