Estate Planning: The Fundamentals

Everyone in Michigan should have an estate plan. People may think that they don't have enough to constitute an estate. Estate planning can ensure that whatever a person leaves behind will be handled according to his or her wishes and not left to the courts to decide. It may also protect one's heirs from unnecessary costs and expenses.

An estate is not just comprised of a last will and testament. There are other documents that can simplify the situation for those entrusted with one's end-of-life care. One such document is a durable power of attorney. This document allows someone to act on a person's behalf should that person become incapacitated. The person designated as power of attorney can manage finances, pay bills and make other financial decisions.

Another important document is a medical power of attorney. Like the durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney gives the person designated that role the authority to make medical decisions for a person if he or she becomes unable to do so. It may be accompanied by a living will that spells out a person's decisions regarding life support and end-of-life care.

Before undertaking the task of estate planning in Michigan, a person may benefit from the advice and guidance of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney would be able to assist a person in making the best decisions for his or her needs. In addition, an attorney can assist in ensuring that all a person's final wishes are honored by helping to enforce the person's will, powers of attorney or other estate planning documents.

Source: tcpalm.com, "Everyday estate planning needs certain documents", Robert D. Schwartz, April 11, 2018

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