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.
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.
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.
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?
There are times in life, perhaps in some of our Michigan readers' lives, when a tragedy will bring family members together. An unfortunate situation, such as a car accident or a prolonged terminal illness, can lead to family members gathering at the hospital, hoping for bits of news from doctors and asking themselves what they can do to help. In the most dire of situations, health care professionals may approach the family members for a decision on what course of medical treatment should be rendered. If the incapacitated person is without the right kind of power of attorney, those moments could lead to fractious and fruitless discussions amongst the family members.
The end of one year and the beginning of another probably has many of our Michigan readers thinking of what options are best for them when it comes to financial decisions. As our nation's leaders spend the beginning of the year working toward trying to figure out how much each of us should be paying in taxes, they are also working on changes to some government benefits, which could include Medicaid and Medicare. When the dust finally settles on these issues, our Michigan readers will probably want to make some tweaks to their long term planning, and one recent article has suggested that it may be time for many to consider long-term care insurance.
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 stressed the importance of comprehensive and detailed estate planning. For most people, the question marks that can pop up from dying intestate are just too great of a concern to ignore. However, if there are some among our Michigan readers who have taken the first step and actually constructed an estate plan, it is important to remember that life-changing events can happen - and your will should sometimes be changed as well.
Even though the bitter presidential election is now more than a month in our reader's rearview mirrors, no doubt many have been unable to escape the continuing political news out of our nation's capital. The discourse has been muddled and mostly unproductive, regardless of the fact that the decisions that need to be made could affect nearly every American's financial situation.
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.