Because everyone has different needs in life, it should come as no surprise that individuals have different needs when it comes to creating end-of-life plans. Luckily, there are a variety of estate planning options that can help Michigan residents choose the tools that allow them to create the best plans for their circumstances. For some, trusts provide many benefits.

Creating a revocable trust can allow interested parties to avoid the probate process. However, they need to ensure that they have properly funded their trusts. If such action has not been taken, their surviving loved ones could face complications when it comes time to administer the estate. Those family members may have believed that probate was not necessary, only to discover they must go through the process due to improper trust planning.

In order for a trustmaker to properly fund the trust, he or she needs to re-title assets to the account. It is also important to understand which assets need to go into the trust. Items and accounts that do not have direct beneficiary designations can be placed into the trust for distribution later.

Determining whether a trust could work for a specific estate depends on the estate holder’s circumstances. If the majority of the assets are jointly owned with a right to survivorship or have beneficiary designations, a trust may not be necessary. However, this estate planning tool can prove useful to Michigan residents wanting to protect assets and potentially avoid the probate process. Discussing this option with experienced attorneys could help interested parties decide whether it could be of use to them.

Source:, “Improperly funded trusts can be very costly“, Stephen Lacey and Brooke M. Benzio, May 15, 2017