Some of our Michigan readers know exactly what they are looking for when they begin the process of drawing up an estate plan. Most people, however, don't really even know where to start, other than perhaps knowing that a will is probably important to have. The good news is that there are more resources than ever that can help educate a Michigan resident as to the vast range of estate planning options, and one area that is probably cloaked in mystery more than any other is trusts.
Many people, perhaps even some of our Michigan readers, have a will that sets out their wishes for after they die - and they believe that is all that they need. While it may be true in a limited amount of cases that just having a will is enough - and, granted, that is better than nothing - the fact of the matter is that most people will need to have more documents drafted to ensure that every possible eventuality is discussed and planned for to maximize their efforts in protecting inheritance. As mentioned in a recent article, for those with a more significant amount of assets, a living trust could be the best option.
Any of our Michigan readers familiar with previous posts here know that there are a wide variety of reasons to establish trusts as part of an estate plan. Many people incorporate trusts into their estate plans to maximize tax planning scenarios for beneficiaries. Others are simply interested in protecting inheritance - making sure that certain assets go to certain people or charities. However, there are many people who set up trusts to financially protect someone close to them who has special needs. These types of trusts can be especially important to those interested in protecting children with special needs.
When it comes to an estate plan, protecting inheritance is one thing but avoiding probate can be just as important. Each individual and family will have different needs and goals when drafting a comprehensive estate plan, so a wide variety of documents could apply, depending on the situation. However, if one of the primary goals is indeed to avoid probate as much as a possible, a recent article pointed readers toward the various benefits of establishing a living trust.
"Let's keep things simple." This phrase is not only common, but also it is often good advice. Unfortunately for many Michigan residents who are thinking about strategies for protecting inheritance and solidifying tax planning, simplicity is often the last thing they think will come into play. When many people hear the terms "estate planning" and "living trust," they most likely think that things are about to get complicated. Fortunately, a recent article acknowledged this possibility and attempted to explain the benefits of considering a living trust as part of an estate plan.
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.
This is the time of year when many Michigan residents are finding out whether or not they have taken the right approach to tax planning. Withholding too much or too little in taxes from a paycheck will often make the difference between receiving a refund and owing money to Uncle Sam. But what about long-term tax planning? How do Michigan residents make sure that they have the right structures in place for protecting inheritance and guaranteeing the distribution of their estate in the manner they desire?
Some of our readers may have seen previous posts here referencing the many different aspects of a comprehensive estate plan. Of course, most people know that a will is essential, and many know that powers of attorney are also a key component.
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.
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.