People tend to be aware that having an estate plan is a good idea as one gets older. The recent prominent deaths of a couple of celebrities who did not have estate plans served to drive that issue home with many people. While most people in Michigan do not have estates as large as those of Prince or Aretha Franklin, the headaches that could be caused by passing without a will might not be insignificant. Nor does one need to be older before considering estate planning.
There are multiple reasons that it is wise to have an estate plan in place. No one knows how long one will live and dying without a will in place may leave your assets in the hands of the court to distribute to one’s family according to the state’s laws of intestacy concerning those who die without a will. This will cost time and money that could be avoided if a will already exists. Privacy can also be an issue. An estate that goes through probate becomes part of the public record and can be viewed by anyone.
Security for one’s family can also be addressed through the creation of a trust. A trust can provide specific benefits to people designated by the principal, for example care of minor children. A trust can be set up so that the assets held therein are not available to creditors to settle debts.
A person in Michigan who is considering estate planning may benefit from a conversation with an experienced estate planning attorney. A lawyer can review a person’s assets, liabilities and family situation and advise one on establishing a plan that will protect one’s assets and one’s family. An attorney can look at the overall picture and help to ensure that any eventualities are provided for.