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.
In the wake of the changes to federal tax law at the beginning of the year, many of our Michigan readers may have seen previous posts here about updating an estate plan to account for the differences from previous years. There is no doubt that tax planning is an important part of protecting assets, which in turn is one of the primary goals of estate planning. However, there is more to an estate plan than simply designating property distribution upon death. People in America are living longer, and as such many people, including many Michigan residents, will probably need to start thinking about long-term planning and retirement when they consider their estate plans. A recent article discussed many of these considerations.