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Wills Archives

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.

Where do Michigan residents start in estate planning?

"Where do I begin?" This is a question that many people have when they start to think about drafting a comprehensive estate plan. Even the term, "estate plan," can lead some people to scratch their heads and go back-and-forth over whether they really even need to have a plan, and if it is worth the work involved. But getting started with an estate plan doesn't have to be overwhelming or daunting. A recent article pointed out that several simple goals are what an effective estate plan is all about.

Relatives and friends benefit from Gandolfini's estate planning

Some of our Michigan readers are probably interested in avoiding probate litigation as a primary goal of estate planning. There are many ways to avoid litigation, whether the issue is a will contest based on the validity of a will, or arguments among relatives about the distribution of assets. Some wills even include specific clauses that could penalize anyone who challenges the will. However, another good way to avoid litigation may not seem so obvious at first: make sure everyone gets at least something.

Common reasons to consider broaching the topic of estate planning

Some of our Michigan readers may have trouble thinking of this figure: $5.25 million. When it comes to estate planning, however, this is actually a very important figure. $5.25 million is the limit of the federal estate tax exemption. What does that mean? It means that if the total value of an estate is below that threshold it will not be subject to taxation at the federal level. For many people, this will never be a concern because there is no way they would ever earn that sort of money, short of winning the lottery. Unfortunately, this type of thinking also sometimes leads people to think that they do not even need a will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan. In reality, however, this is far from the truth.

Estate planning and you - do you know the key parts of a will?

Almost all of our Michigan readers probably have a varying amount of assets, and most also have relatives. These two aspects of life may not mix well after a person dies, which is why estate planning is so crucial. Yes, it can be somewhat morbid to sit down and plan out what you would like to see happen to personal property after death, but doing so will spare family members and others the trouble of sorting through all of the legal issues that can come with a will contest or other probate litigation. But what exactly are the key aspects of a will? A recent article tackled that very subject, and it pointed out areas that some of our readers may not have considered before.

Don't forget the simple things during estate planning

In American society today, the Internet has allowed millions of people to find the answers to almost any type of question at the click of a button. No matter how difficult the query, our Michigan readers can be assured that someone out there has almost definitely posted an answer on the Internet, although the veracity of the answer would probably have to be verified. But what about simple questions? Are there simple questions when it comes to estate planning?

When is the right time to consider estate planning?

Many of our Michigan readers may often think, "I know I should consider my options for estate planning, but when is the right time?." There are definitely certain times in life when a person is more likely to think about getting their affairs in order. For instance, watching relatives going through probate litigation in a will contest could create a sense of urgency to do better yourself in order to avoid such a situation. For others, the birth of a child could provide a perfect reminder that one of the most important aspects of a will for someone with minor children is to name guardians in the unfortunate event of an untimely death. In the latter case, a recent article provided a few tips for those young adults who are getting started in life and considering an estate plan.

The "blended family" - how will it affect your estate plan?

Over the past few decades our society has seen the rise of what is known as the "blended family." Think of "The Brady Bunch" here - a blended family is when a couple gets married after they were previously married to someone else with whom they had children. The blended family is a household where the re-married couple and all of their children are living together. Although this may sound like a good time for everyone involved, there is the potential for conflict and controversy in a blended family, maybe even more so than in a traditional family. And the conflict could rise to dangerous levels when the issue of estate planning comes up.

What is the best way to designate property distribution?

One of the primary goals of estate planning is to designate property distribution upon death. But, what is the best way to plan for this? When a person is trying to get more information about an estate plan, anyone helping them draft their will and all of the other appropriate documents will need just as much, if not more, information from the planner about their intentions, assets and relatives. Is there a good way to compile this information and then go through the tough choices involved in divvying up personal property? A recent article set out one option, called the "Four P's": People, Property, Plans and Planners.

Is a will the most important part of an estate plan?

When many of our readers think about estate planning, wills are most likely the first documents to come to mind. A will is the bedrock document of any solid estate plan. If a person has a will, they are off to a good start when it comes to protecting assets for future generations and beneficiaries. But is a will all that is needed?

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