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.
The seeds for probate litigation are sometimes planted with the drafting of wills. The Michigan supreme court recently ruled on the validity of a will and trust prepared by the attorney who was also the recipient of most of his client's estate.
Having a valid will and ensuring access to important estate and financial documents is an important part of estate planning. When this does not occur, surviving heirs face numerous obstacles. But, there are ways to climb out of this estate hole if parents or family members do not have a will or provide this access.
The renowned performer Prince died without leaving a will. The battle among heirs and others is ongoing in Minnesota but has estate planning lessons for Michigan families who want their wishes and legacies preserved after they die.
Keeping wills locked away in a strongbox and forgotten may have unintended consequences. These documents must reflect current circumstances.
Like oral contracts, verbal wills may not be worth the paper they are written on. Having a written will is important to assure that major assets, like the house, go to intended heirs.