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The cost of not estate planning

In some instances, when one doesn't know what to do, doing nothing is the appropriate choice. Rather than make a wrong decision, the Michigan resident chooses to make no decision. However, when it comes to estate planning, this decision to not make a decision can be costly.

In many cases, these individuals do not have a spouse or children; therefore, there are no apparent heirs. Thus, the estate planning decisions regarding who should handle their estates and who should inherit their assets can be difficult ones to make. Yet, if the individual dies without a will, it will be necessary for the courts to step in and transfer assets per state guidelines. In addition to the costs involved with this process, it is possible that assets may be inherited by those the individual did not wish them to go to. If the individual does not wish to leave assets to estranged relatives, other options -- including charitable organizations -- are possible with a will.

By creating a will, the individual can select a specific individual or professional to handle his or her affairs. This is the person who will be responsible for making sure that all estate business is taken care of, bills and taxes are paid and assets are dispersed as directed. If the individual does not have a close friend or family member whom he or she want to fulfill these duties, it is possible to name a trusted professional.

In addition to creating a will, the individual will want to make sure that beneficiaries listed on retirement accounts and life insurance policies are kept up-to-date. These assets typically transfer per instructions on the beneficiary forms. Estate planning a necessary step that each Michigan resident needs to take; experienced legal counsel can assist in determining what steps should be taken.

Source: greenbaypressgazette.com, "Intimidated by estate planning? Here are key first steps", Andrew Farah, Jan. 17, 2018

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