The internet may be an excellent source of information, including forms to assist with estate planning. However, people who download these documents may not know what it is needed to know about Michigan law and estate planning. Do-it-yourself form documents may not address the many complexities surround the planning and drafting of wills and other important documents.
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.