It is quite understandable if Michigan residents have a lot of questions about the probate process. After all, anyone familiar with previous posts here knows that topics can range from the details of trusts to powers of attorney to long-term planning. With so many factors to consider during the planning stage, there is every reason for an estate planner to think about what will occur when the actual estate administration process begins.
With so many ways to approach estate planning, many people often have more questions than answers. What will the impact be on tax planning? What are the best documents to draft for protecting inheritance? What if I have children with special needs and I want to make sure they are taken care of? The list could go on and on. Fortunately, the simple answer to many of these question is this: trusts. However, there are many types of trusts for an individual or family to consider. One popular method, known as the "living trust," was recently the subject of a very informative article which tried to dispel certain myths about this particular estate planning device.
Previous posts here have detailed how important it is to have a sound, comprehensive estate plan. But, what exactly is the most important part? Some would argue that it is the will, some that a certain trust is a priority. It really does just depend on the situation, but one part that can make the most difference during a critical time is the inclusion of powers of attorney.
The "fiscal cliff" negotiations have come and gone, finally. And although many of our Michigan readers were probably glad to hear it, if for no other reason than hoping that the news might cover a different topic, many will not be able to move on from the negotiations as quickly as they would like. For tax planning purposes, some of the details of the deal that was reached should catch many of our readers' attention, and a recent article in Forbes explored those very details in depth. Some of the changes that will take effect will most likely further enhance the value of trusts in protecting inheritance.
Many of our Michigan readers have probably been having a good time in recent days, celebrating the holidays and getting together with friends and family. This is certainly the time of year when many people are ready to relax and catch up and spend time with the people who are most important to them. For some that means days spent shopping, playing in the snow or watching sports together on television. But, a recent article has suggested that many people should take this time together with family members to address another topic: estate planning.
Many of our previous posts have focused on the variety of approaches a Michigan resident can take with estate planning. Estate administration can be a complicated and delicate process, so it is of the utmost importance that all estate planning documents are in the highest level of detail and stored in a manner which will make the probate process as quick and easy as possible. But who is it, really, that needs an estate plan? Is it only wealthy individuals with thousands, if not millions, in assets which need to be designated for distribution? The answer is, quite simply, absolutely not. Even a young couple, perhaps recently married or with a newborn baby, should be sure to complete the necessary documents of an estate plan.
Most of our Michigan readers probably remember Dr. Jack Kevorkian. The nationally known advocate for assisted-suicide died in the Detroit area in June of this year at the age of 83. Of course, this was only after he served a prison sentence after being convicted in 1999 of second-degree murder for his role in the assisted suicide of a terminally ill Michigan resident. He was released in 2007. Now, in the course of Kevorkian's ongoing estate administration, it looks as if some of his personal property will be returning to his designated heir.
With the advances in reproductive technology showing up at a fast and furious pace, the law has struggled to keep up. Today's modern family can look very different than most did in the 1950's, especially with more states protecting the rights of gay couples to adopt children or raise children as a married couple. The family law courts are where most people see the clash between modern day family structure, reproductive technology and the law, but a recent story shows how alternative family arrangements can stretch over into the realm of estate administration.
Although our Oakland County readers would have to be of a certain generation and have a certain musical taste to know who Adam Yauch was, some interesting news has developed in the wake of his recent and untimely death which could shed some light on key aspects of estate planning. Yauch was more popularly known as MCA, a founding member of the iconic and genre shattering group known as the Beastie Boys. The group's music developed an intense following beginning in the 1980's, and they became even more famous because they were some of the first Caucasian rappers to gain mainstream credibility. Mega-stars like Detroit native Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, have said that the Beastie Boys were a huge influence and inspiration to them.
Some of our Oakland County readers may be keeping up with the family strife that is tearing the world-famous Jackson family apart these days. Michael Jackson's death was both sudden and tragic, and even after so much time has passed since then, his family members are waging a very public and, at times, very nasty fight over perceived problems with his estate administration.