A will may be the first thing that people think about when it comes to their estate planning. However, wills have some disadvantages. A will is a public court document that is used in a probate proceeding when a person died with their assets in their name. The probate process determines whether the will is valid and may be expensive and lengthy. Family members may also seek a larger share of the estate by engaging in a will contest, challenging its validity or allocation of assets.
Passing on money and bonds to heirs may be relatively straight-forward. But, distribution of things like property, art and jewelry require additional estate planning. Determining an object's fair market value is important, regardless of whether the asset or profits from its sale are passed on. This is important because some assets may appreciate over time. Insurance coverage should be updated so that planning decisions are based upon accurate information.
The failure to have a will in Michigan is not an absolute disaster, especially when a decedent wanted to have an outright distribution of assets to their children.
Disposing of property and assets after death must be done following strict legal requirements. To avoid legal disputes, wills must comply with numerous legal requirements. First, rules govern their signature and execution. While these rules may appear unnecessarily formal, any flaw can lead to a will contest or invalidation.
Estate planning is not restricted to the wealthy. Estate documents, such as wills, are necessary for anyone who wants a say on how their property will be distributed after they die. Families of those who failed to make plans are not completely unprotected, however. Michigan law governs the distribution of property for people who die intestate.
An online storage system for estate documents may be advantageous for those who are tech-skilled. But, all online accounts should be addressed in estate planning documents or access may be denied or accounts may be destroyed. This can allow lawyers, executors, beneficiaries and relatives to have quick access to wills, medical documents and other information.
Celebrities may remain in the news for matters unrelated to their talents and accomplishments long after they die. In an estate case that is instructive for Michigan families, a judge in Tennessee recently ruled that the children of country music singer Glenn Campbell may contest two wills that disinherited them.