The language of estate planning can be a little bit confusing. For example, there is a living will and a living trust, and there seems to be some confusion as to what the difference is between the two. In addition, if there is a living will, does there need to be a will? Part of the confusion comes from the wording of the different document names. Successful estate planning in Michigan consists of multiple documents.

A living will is a medical directive document that specifies the testator’s wishes regarding medical care if he or she becomes physically or mentally unable to express those wishes for him or herself. A living trust enables one to simplify the transfer of assets following one’s death. It can be more specific than a will by itself and has the added benefit of being private. It also allows the grantor the ability to maintain some control over the assets while he or she is still alive.

A will is subject to probate. This is a process that goes through the courts and so becomes part of the public record. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate in question, probate can be a long and involved process that can also become costly if there are a lot of issues to be resolved.

Estate planning can be complex and can benefit by taking one’s time in making sure that one’s final wishes have been provided for. It is important to remember that different documents make up a successful plan. An experienced professional in Michigan can help review one’s financial situation and final wishes and assist in creating a plan that will meet one’s goals.