Michigan Estate Planning
Estate planning is a process in which a plan is set forth to ensure family and financial goals are met after you die. Depending on your specific needs and goals, an estate plan can include any number of documents. The most common documents in an estate plan include wills, trusts, durable power of attorney, medical power of attorney, patient advocate designation, and guardian appointments.
The estate plan that you need is not the same plan that anyone else needs. A carefully constructed estate plan will provide benefits now and in the future. An attorney at Detroit Lawyers will analyze your family and financial goals and provide a customized estate plan to ensure those goals are met.
Michigan Probate Law
Probate is the first step in the legal process of administering the estate of a deceased person, resolving claims and distributing the deceased person’s property under a will. The probate process begins with a petition to open the estate and name a personal representative who is responsible for the administration of the estate. The person named as the personal representative will gather assets, pay the debts, and distribute the remaining property according to the will. An attorney at Detroit Lawyers can help you probate and administer an estate after someone close to you has passed away.
Most Michigan probate cases can be wrapped up within seven months to a year after the personal representative is appointed. However, the case may take longer if someone contests the will in court. Although rare, a will may be contested if the deceased person was not of sound mind or was under undue influence when he or she signed the will.
First, it’s important to understand the terminology related to trusts. The person who creates the trust is often called the settler, grantor, or the trustor. The trustee is the person who accepts the assets follows the settlor’s instructions laid out in the trust. The beneficiary or beneficiaries are the people entitled to benefit from the trust assets.
A trust is a legal arrangement in which assets are transferred to a trustee to be used for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. There are a number of different trust types. There are living trusts, also commonly known as inter-vivos trusts. Living trusts are normally created for the settlor’s benefit during his or her lifetime. After the settlor’s death, the trust assets are distributed to or managed for the benefit of family members or other beneficiaries. There are testamentary trusts which are created via a will and funded after the individual’s death.
Some advantages of a trust include probate avoidance, privacy, estate tax savings, and proper management of assets.
A Will is a legal instrument that lets explains what you want to happen with your property after your death. You can also select a personal representative who will carry out your wishes according to the Will. Lastly, if you have children under the age of 18, you can appoint the person you would like to be their legal guardian if you die.
If you die without a Will in Michigan, property that you own in your own name will be distributed according to Michigan’s law of descent and distribution. This is often referred to as intestate distribution. Michigan’s intestate distribution plan is inflexible and may not distribute your property according to your wishes.
Contact an attorney at Detroit Lawyers today for a FREE CONSULTATION. We will customize an estate plan to ensure you control where your property goes and, if you have children under 18, who the guardian of your children is.