Many of our Michigan readers may think that all of their estate planning needs will be met once they have a will, a trust and the appropriate power of attorney forms. While these instruments are vital to a good, comprehensive estate plan, there is another aspect that needs to be considered - long-term planning for care in advanced age or poor health.
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.
The holidays have long been considered the season of giving. People give to charitable organizations that they believe need their funds. However, between 80 and 90 percent of people who give to charitable organizations during their lifetime, fail to leave a legacy to any charitable organization after they pass. However, with the right long term planning, Michigan residents will be able to secure the future of their families and the charities they have supported during their lifetime.
It is common for many people to associate estate planning with preparing for the distribution of assets after death. While this is indeed one of the main reasons for a Michigan resident to have an estate plan drafted, there are many aspects of the plan that will address events that could be possible before a person's death. This is where the power of attorney documents come into play.
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?
Many Michigan readers may believe that estate planning involves simply planning for how assets will be distributed after they die. While that is a good start, it does not include everything. A comprehensive estate plan encompasses quite a bit more, including planning for the later years of a person's life and trying to anticipate the issues that may occur. That is why most estate plans include powers of attorney - documents which designate an appointed person to make financial or medical care decisions, should the planner become incapacitated. This type of scenario does not happen to everyone, but almost everyone does get older and has medical issues that need to be addressed.
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.
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.
What do I need to include in my estate plan? This is a question that many of our Michigan readers will be asking themselves at some point when they begin the process of putting together the necessary documents for their unique situations. Every estate plan is different. Does everyone need to use some kind of trust in their estate plan? Not necessarily, though trusts are great for fulfilling certain needs. However, almost without exception, two important documents that need to be included in a Michigan resident's estate plan are a durable power of attorney and a health care power of attorney.
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.