Estate planning can be intimidating for many people because of its perceived complexity. Many people may also be confused about what "estate planning" really refers to because of the word "estate": they may think that it is something that only applies to those with considerable wealth or assets. Estate planning is for everyone, however, and has many different facets. One commonly overlooked, but very useful, component of estate planning is the power of attorney.
Although it is often difficult to think about, it important to think about planning for times when it might be impossible for a person to make decisions for himself or herself. These important decisions might relate to financial matters, personal lives and possessions or medical care. Conflicts between family members over how these decisions will be made can often arise, even though it might be the last thing that a person would want. Creating a health care power of attorney before such a situation arises can help prevent a range of problems and ensure that a person's wishes are carried out, at least with regard to medical care.
Although nobody hopes to be faced with life-threatening medical issues, it's a situation anybody could be forced to deal with at a moment's notice. Through this experience, people hope that they can make the most reasonable and thoughtful decisions. In some cases, people may not be able to make these decisions on their own behalf, particularly at the end of life.
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.
There is a lot that a Michigan resident needs to do in order to put together a comprehensive estate plan. But, for the most part, there is one overarching requirement: making decisions. The process of estate planning is all about making decisions. From determining how to distribute assets to assessing the pros and cons of trusts, and much more, drafting and executing an estate plan is essentially a series of decisions to be made. However, some decisions are more important than others. For instance, how does a Michigan resident decide who to appoint to make decisions in their place?
Most people know that they should have an estate plan. However, statistics are routinely reported reflecting the fact that many people still don't have the necessary estate planning documents even though they know they should. Like many other tasks, some people avoid estate planning simply because they don't know what to do or which documents apply to their particular situation. A recent article recognized this problem and sought to educate readers on what exactly needs to be in a comprehensive estate plan - in most cases.
Michigan readers may have heard the term "powers of attorney" and not been fully aware of what the term means. It is a fairly common legal term that refers to a particular kind of document that many Michigan residents draft in anticipation that they may become enfeebled or incapacitated in some way. For instance, if an adult child discovers that his or her parent is allowing bills to pile up in the parent's home because of the parent's inability to keep up, a powers of attorney document can be helpful in allowing the adult child to take over bill-paying and other estate matters because the parent is no longer able.