Wills are important legal documents that enable people to give effect to their wishes after they are deceased and no longer able to make those wishes known. Wills can be used to give personal property to relatives or other beneficiaries--one of the most common uses of wills--or to make charitable donations, establish guardians for minors, and other purposes. Unfortunately, there are situations when relatives believe that a will does not accurately reflect what the deceased would have wanted. In these cases, a person may choose to initiate a will contest.
Regardless of the amount of assets you possess or the degree of your wealth, there are many benefits to creating a Michigan will before you pass away. You likely spent the majority of your life controlling your own affairs, so why not also make your wishes known regarding your property and estate after your death?
Planning for death is a difficult but necessary part of life. Wills constitute a key component of end-of-life planning because it is important for people to have a way to make their wishes known in a legally enforceable way. Wills can address who will care for your children in the event both you and the other parent die while the children are minors. Wills can also address the distribution of personal property to beneficiaries, how your assets will be handled after your death, and who will manage your estate and/or make key decisions.
Wills are an important way for people to manage their affairs after they are gone. These legal documents enable people to pass property on to beneficiaries, make charitable donations to nonprofit organizations out of their estate and avoid disputes between family members. However, in order to have a valid will and a better chance of avoiding a will contest, Michigan residents need to be sure that their will complies with the legal requirements for valid wills.
After a person's death, there are often a number of things that must be resolved in the process of settling affairs. The considerations and issues involved in settling a person's affairs are different depending on when he or she dies. For example, settling the estate of a wealthy person who died after a long life will require different things than settling the estate of a person who died while young with small children.
Michigan residents, like most people, want to be in control of their lives and what happens to them. The same holds true even in death. This is why many people write wills: to ensure that their wishes are carried out after their passing with regard to their personal property and other important issues. Unfortunately, there are many situations in which a will contest results when potential or expected heirs are not satisfied with the will's provisions or believe there may be problems with the will wording or creation.
In many ways, creating a will is a way for a person to establish his or her lasting legacy. By distributing assets through a trust to a non-profit organization or a loved one, a life's work can continue to have meaning well beyond an individual's passing. However, in order for that legacy to persist in an intentional fashion, the decedent's last will and testament must be considered valid.
A will is generally viewed as a final chance for people to provide support for the people and causes they cared about while living. Significant time and attention may be dedicated to creating a robust, clear and accurate estate plan to minimize ambiguity. Leaving loose ends or room for doubt in regard to personal intentions can create complications for beneficiaries or individuals who feel they were wrongfully left out of a will.
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.
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.