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.
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.
Readers in Michigan have likely heard about the untimely death of Whitney Houston. While the death of the great pop star is certainly a tragedy, it has served as a reminder to everyone, young and old, of the importance of a well-crafted estate plan.
A couple of weeks ago, Michigan residents may remember that we discussed aspects of a modern estate plan that would avoid probate problems potentially caused by people having online accounts that outlive them. Well, like digital clockwork, Facebook has responded to the problem. The social network has introduced an application (or "app") that can be used to allow appointed trustees to post video or text messages on a person's wall, even if he or she is deceased. And, to avoid future probate disputes, readers in the Detroit area may want to look into similar measures with regard to all of their online accounts.
Residents in Oakland County who are involved in estate planning may be wondering if living trusts offer any kind of asset protection.
Oakland County residents will be interested to hear of a recent court ruling with regard to the estate of the late civil rights icon Rosa Parks. In what was said to be a sternly written order, the Michigan Supreme Court overturned a previous decision handed down by a Wayne County probate judge and the Michigan Court of Appeals. The original probate dispute centered on a $10 million memorabilia collection and the intellectual property rights of the late civil rights activist.