Michigan Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning can have many different objectives and should cover more than just a plan to distribute property upon death. Clients must consider many factors and each client's situation will be different. A Michigan estate plan should be flexible and consider many different life events and outcomes, including medical care decisions, incapacity or disability, hospice care and protecting assets.
Michigan Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Achieve Your Objectives
A Michigan estate planning attorney can guide you through these factors including:
the amount and types property expected to be distributed
family relations, including blended families
the health of the client
the client's long-term retirement plan
the need for privacy
tax implications, including both estate, gift and income
family cottage or vacation home
family business succession planning
asset protection for high net-worth or high risk individuals
A Michigan Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Understand All Options
A Michigan estate planning attorney will help answer important questions and provide you with a comprehensive plan that includes more than executing a simple will off the internet. Many clients may need or prefer a living trust to a will, and will need a health directive and power of attorney to help them manage their personal affairs like maintaining a house or finances.
Understand Michigan Estate Planning Pitfalls or Risks
A Michigan estate planning lawyer will also provide guidance to help ensure that unintended consequences do not occur upon a change in circumstances. Typical scenarios that require an estate plan checkup include a divorce, change in preferred beneficiaries, change in assets owned, acquisition of new assets that may require specific distributions, impact of estate or gift tax changes, moving to a different state, etc.
A Michigan estate planning attorney can provide a quick check-up after a significant life event to ensure the planning documents continue to align with the objectives of the overall estate plan. In addition, working with a Michigan estate planning lawyer can ensure that the estate plan will be properly implemented including transferring assets to trusts and ensuring that property is titled correctly.
Common Michigan Estate Planning Methods
Michigan residents often think of an estate plan as either a will or living trust. Many clients are not sure which is right for them or what the difference is. Many have heard that a living trust is better than a will because it avoids the probate process.
Michigan Intestate Distribution in Probate
The first option is having no will or trust. This is referred to as intestate and the property distribution rules are determined by Michigan statute. For some, this may be an acceptable result if there is no property to distribute or there are no heirs. For many, property may end up in the hands of an unintended beneficiary. Other property that is not distributed by a will, including jointly owned property, assets with a pay on death or beneficiary designation, and property held in trust are not distributed through the intestate probate process.
Michigan Estate Planning with a Will
The next plan strategy is to have a will. Client's should have a will to distribute property to intended beneficiaries and appoint a personal representative or executor to competently and honestly handle the assets of the estate. A Michigan estate plan with a will allows the client to determine who will handle and receive the assets of the estate and ensure that assets are properly distributed.
Michigan Living Trust or Grantor Trust
An estate plan may also have a living trust that allows privacy and avoids a public probate process. A trust allows property to be handled by a designated trustee, with rights and responsibilities determined by the client who makes the trust. Property ownership and distributions are private and the trust can provide flexibility to distribute property to beneficiaries who need it or for a specific purpose including education, health or starting a business.
A living trust can help clients achieve many different goals and can be updated during the client's life as required. A living trust also allows a client's estate to avoid the cost of probate.
Durable Power of Attorney Michigan
A durable power of attorney can be drafted to manage financial or healthcare decisions. It is important for clients to understand the appropriate powers and limitations to grant someone who can act on your behalf during a period of incapacity. Hiring a lawyer to discuss these important life decisions to draft a power of attorney is one of the most important decisions you can make to ensure that your quality of life is managed properly when you need help the most. An attorney can also provide you with a comprehensive checkup to ensure that your assets will be properly managed during your time of need. This is especially true if you own a business.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in Michigan
The average American is living longer and requiring more medical care as they get older. Health care decisions are becoming more complicated due to the improvement in the medical community's ability to keep people alive longer. A power of attorney for health care is more complicated a decision due to difficult options for keeping a person alive and the expected quality of life they may have after major surgeries or strokes, heart attacks or other major health events. Understanding the decision process and your agent's understanding of their obligations under the power of attorney is critical to ensuring your choices are carried out effectively.
General Durable Power of Attorney in Michigan
When someone becomes incapacitated, it is essential that someone is able to pay bills and manage non-health related affairs. Without a power of attorney, banks and care providers require some other proof of legal authorization to act on behalf of the incapacitated person. The most likely authority is a conservatorship, which is expensive and time consuming. This power of attorney may also be referred to as a financial power of attorney in Michigan. There are situations where that makes sense, but conservatorships should be avoided. Having the proper durable power of attorney in place will minimize the stress of handling an incapacitated person's finances and helping them recover. Everyone should consider this as an option when creating a comprehensive estate plan.
Contact a Detroit Estate Planning Attorney for Estate Planning Help Today
If you have questions regarding estate planning, contact Michigan estate planning attorney Andrew Steiger at Steiger Tax Law for a free consultation to discuss your needs and goals. Attorney Steiger's estate planning services include counseling clients on the importance and impact and types of wills, trusts, health directives and power of attorney. Detroit estate planning attorney serves residents of metro Detroit, including Grosse Pointe, St. Clair Shores, Mount Clemens, Ann Arbor, Royal Oak and other local communities.
The primary focus is on ensuring financial security during a client's life and the impact of choices related to property distributions upon passing. Tax considerations are secondary, but remain important, in the context of estate tax if applicable but also income and property taxes related to the disposition of assets.
Contact Michigan estate planning attorney Andrew Steiger for a free estate planning consultation. Protect your future and ensure that your estate planning goals are achieved. Fixed fees are available and vary depending on your estate planning needs.