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Wills Archives

The estate planning may be done, but updates are important

Any of our Michigan readers familiar with previous posts here know that there are a wide variety of estate planning instruments to consider when it comes to protecting assets and avoiding probate litigation. Some will choose trusts because of the relative ease with which assets can be passed on to future generations. Others choose the tried-and-true will, in which the estate planner can designate property distribution as well as detail important decisions like naming guardians for minor children. There are many approaches, and having an estate plan is almost always better than leaving an estate in the hands of state intestate laws.

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.

Thinking about estate planning in a different light

Thousands of Michigan residents probably think at least once a day: "I need a will." Many of our readers know from previous posts here that there are so many people out there who know that they need an estate plan, yet each day passes and they don't get any further along with the estate planning process. Procrastination in this area of life is somewhat understandable, since having an estate plan drafted will necessarily entail thinking about some unpleasant situations; namely, death.

Age can be a factor that leads to probate litigation

Any of our Michigan readers who are familiar with previous posts here probably know by now that one of the key parts of estate planning that many experts recommend is to communicate the contents of the plan to relatives and others who may believe they will be part of the distribution of assets and property. Some people may find this hard, preferring instead to keep their wishes secret until the will is actually needed. But, of course, by that time it is too late to discuss why a planner made certain decisions, and the result may be something a solidly drafted will is designed to avoid - a will contest.

What do Michigan residents think about estate planning?

Many of our Michigan readers know that having a will is just one piece of a larger, comprehensive estate plan. Previous posts here have also detailed how important other estate planning documents can be, such as trusts and powers of attorney. However, those other documents - while still very important for many people - should not cast a shadow on the fact that a will is going to be the bedrock document in most instances, regardless of the amount of assets that need to be distributed or the number of relatives that need to be included in the plan.

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.

Have a plan and relatives will be grateful

When many Michigan residents think about estate planning, they usually know at least the starting point: a will. Even though some reports continue to show that about half of the people who should have a will don't have a will, those people who don't have a will probably still know what a will is supposed to be designed to do. They know that this document is used to designate property distribution for a person's assets, including personal property, after death, and that for people with minor children guardians are named to care for those children in the event that the other parent is also deceased. Some people will say that a will is a way to provide a person with "peace of mind." But some of our Michigan readers may be overlooking who else will be helped by a solid, complete and comprehensive estate plan: relatives.

Estate planning in Michigan doesn't have to be overly complex

The complexity of any given task will cause many people put it off for as long as they can. Estate planning probably falls within that realm of thinking for a large number of Michigan residents. Sure, most people know that they need a will, but even that can seem like a complex task that can be pushed off until another day. Recognizing this common mental block, a recent article sought to educate readers on how to make the process a little less intimidating.

Estate planning should be revisited yearly

Estate planning can be tricky business. When an individual has a lot of money or other assets to leave, drafting the proper documents, following proper procedures, and working with people you can trust are essential. A mistake in any of these areas can lead to unintended, tragic consequences that may leave family members without family property. One way to avoid problems such as a will contest or probate litigation is to update estate planning yearly. There are several reasons why this may be in the planner's best interest.

Goals of estate planning

Most of our Michigan readers know the basic goals of a will. First, the will is intended to designate property distribution among relatives, friends and charities, so that a person's assets will be passed on to those individuals or organizations specifically designate by the estate planner. These assets could include personal property, business assets, real estate or cash. Sitting down and crafting an approach during the estate planning process can give the planner the comprehensive approach - and comprehensive answer - that they want to provide some piece of mind.

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