Make sure your assets get to where you want them, as smoothly as possible, upon your death.
You need the assurance that if something were to happen to you, your loved ones are taken care of with a plan that makes sense for you, is efficient, and is easy to understand.
Estate planning (by which we just mean wills, trusts, or advice about other methods, whether you have saved up thousands, or millions, or somewhere in between) is something we excel at here. And because we help so many family members through the after-death processes, we have a deep and broad understanding of how the legal concepts work in the real world, making our advice, our documents, and our plans all that much better.
Without proper planning, upon your passing the money, real estate, and other assets you've saved up over a lifetime will be distributed through probate according to Michigan state law. While this may seem acceptable on the surface, the reality is that often too much of a person's estate gets siphoned off to pay court and legal fees, taxes and creditors, and the default rules of the State may come as an unwelcome surprise. The loved ones left behind have no control over how the assets are distributed.
Instead, let’s talk through your particular situation, and develop a plan that ensures that you know, understand, and control how and where your home, money, and other assets end up, minimizing the amount used to pay fees, taxes and debts. The firm has over 30 years of experience in estate planning and can custom tailor an estate plan for your particular needs, no matter what size your estate is.
We can assist with:
- Wills — A Last Will and Testament is a guide for the probate process. It directs the probate judge and your heirs on how you want your assets distributed, and who should be in charge of that process. Though a will can be contested and does not keep assets out of probate, everyone should at least have a will in place.
- Living Trusts — A Trust usually has two primary purposes: (i) to direct how your assets are distributed, and (ii) to do that without the probate process. Another major benefit of a living trust is that it can also hold assets over time, for children or other beneficiaries who shouldn’t just receive a big check to go spend as they wish.
- Medical Directives & Living Wills — A Patient Advocate Designation tells physicians and hospitals who is authorized to make medical decisions for you, when you are no longer able to do so yourself, and clarifies what treatments you want or don't want used in end of life or potentially end of life situations, including when to terminate life support in the event of an irreversible coma etc.
- Irrevocable Trusts — An irrevocable trust is used to keep assets out of probate and more importantly, out of creditors' hands (including Medicaid) while giving you control over how the assets are used and who receives them after your death.
- Special Needs Trusts — A special needs trust is designed to hold assets that will pay for care and upkeep of a person with who, due to mental or physical condition is receiving state aid such as Medicaid. It holds them in such a way that they do not “belong” to the beneficiary, and therefore do not get reported, causing the loss of benefits.
- Trusts for Minors — Usually an aspect of the living trust, this trust is designed to hold assets for a minor child and control use of those assets until the child comes of age, ensuring responsible use of the assets.
- Estate Tax Avoidance Planning — Various estate planning tools are used to strategically minimize taxes on an estate and maximize the amount of estate available to heirs.
- Probate Avoidance Planning — Various estate planning tools are used strategically to keep assets out of probate (where a decedent has little control over them).
Take advantage of our 40 years of estate planning experience and ensure that your hard-earned money and assets go to the people you care most about. Call our office and speak to an estate planning attorney today: (616) 866-9593.