Planning for one’s estate is becoming recognized more and more as an essential tool for protecting wealth in Michigan in order to pass it on to the next generation. This may be particularly true of the baby boomer generation as they enter retirement. They may wish to reap the benefits of their wealth in retirement but also leave some behind for family or favored charities. Without good, well-thought-out estate planning in place, this is a risky proposition.

Without a plan, there are more risks involved. How a plan is structured and maintained can help reduce, but not necessarily eliminate, the risks. One wouldn’t buy a new car, drive it for 50,000 miles and never get an oil change or have the tires checked and expect it to run perfectly. The risks of doing so are considerable. Likewise, one wouldn’t necessarily trust one’s doctor to perform that check up and oil change on a car and certainly wouldn’t trust the doctor to guarantee the work.

A solid plan may have several components including trusts, life insurance policies and annuities, to name a few. When a plan is put in place, it is with certain goals in mind, which may include retirement and what one may want to leave behind. The parts of a plan require frequent reviews, say every five years, to determine if they continue to perform as intended. Further, these review should be with the expert who understands them best; for example, an insurance adviser should review life insurance issues. People should keep in mind that many decisions are made to save as much as possible in taxes, and tax law changes frequently.

All of this may sound overwhelming, but a knowledgeable professional can help parse all of the details and advise one on a plan that may help to achieve the goals he or she is looking for. However, looking for a place to begin can be challenging. An attorney in Michigan experienced in estate planning can get one started by reviewing and explaining the components of an existing plan or helping a client to plan a new one that will allow for flexibility and adjustments over time.