You might not know it, but you likely have an estate. Nearly everyone does. Your estate is made up of items in your possession: your vehicle, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, life insurance, investments, furniture, and personal possessions. Whether your estate is large or modest, your estate should be part of your plan when you die.
You will likely want your possessions to be passed on to the people about whom you care the most. By providing instructions detailing who should receive what, you can ensure your wishes are carried out.
This is known as estate planning, by making a plan in advance naming people who should receive things you own after you pass, and taking the legal steps to carry out your plan as efficiently as possible.
Good estate planning involves the following:
Instructions regarding your financial affairs
Arrangements for disability income or long-term insurance if you are unable to work
Life insurance policies to take care of your family
Selecting a legal guardian to care of your children
Ensuring your children are raised according to your wishes
Providing for Special Needs beneficiaries
Protecting assets from long term care costs
Setting up a trust for your children
Transferring your business in the case of your death
Protecting your assets from creditors
Reducing income, gift, and estate taxes
Leaving your legacy
Estate planning is often an ongoing process that you revisit throughout your life. Any time your family or financial affairs change, you should update your plan.
It’s Never Too Early for Estate Planning
Far too many people think that estate planning is for those who are planning retirement, but the truth is none of us can know how long we will live. Accidents can happen at any time.
Estate planning can be incredibly impactful because planning ahead can allow families to keep even modest assets.
It is a fallacy to assume that estate planning is only for the extremely wealthy. The fact is, anyone who owns a house, car, or personal possessions can start thinking about what will happen to their valuables when they are no longer around.
A well-drafted estate plan will allow a person of your choosing to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to. Without such a plan in place, anyone could petition the court to gain control of your assets. No one wants to put their loved ones through the lengthy and challenging process of conservatorship or guardianship.
Your estate planning attorney will help you design a plan that fits your circumstances depending on your unique needs and goals.
At All Law PLLC, we will go over your options with you and take the time to ensure you understand every aspect of estate law as it applies to you. We will collaborate with your insurance provider, accountant, and more to make sure we dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s.
Wills and Living Trusts
A Will is a legally binding document that details how your assets will be distributed, who will care for your minor children, and who will handle your final affairs.
Wills cannot keep your assets out of Probate Court or reduce tax liability. Your estate is subjected to attorney’s fees, delays, and everything associated with Death Probate.
Living Trusts are similar to Wills and have become increasingly popular in estate planning, primarily due to the following benefits:
Avoid Death Probate
Minimize federal estate taxes
Avoid Lifetime Probate
Michigan estate plans should involve a Medical Power of Attorney, a Financial Power of Attorney, and a HIPAA Authorization.
Avoid Unnecessary Taxation
Michigan estate planning may necessitate more than Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Wills. Some clients may seek out the services of estate planning lawyers if the following applies to them:
They are married with combined assets exceeding $10,860,0001
They are single with assets exceeding $5,430,0001
They have substantial funds within an IRA
Their assets have appreciated, and they wish to avoid capital gains taxes
They want to make a charitable donation or wish to create a charitable foundation
They have valuable assets that they wish to preserve for their loved ones
Many situations can result in significant taxation—income, estate, capital gains, or other taxes. Our Michigan estate planning attorneys are highly experienced in tax and estate planning and can help you minimize the imposition of said taxes.
Why plan your estate?
Decide how your estate will be distributed
Decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate
Name someone who will take care of your minor children
Your trust or "will" is a legal way to hold and protect your assets
Avoid a lengthy and often costly probate process
Minimize estate taxes
Because tomorrow is never promised