Protect Your Assets and Family with Michigan Estate Planning
Your Michigan estate plan is a set of written legal documents which provides instructions on what you want to happen to your assets in the event of your incapacity or death.
A Michigan estate plan protects the things for which you worked so hard, like your home, vehicles, personal belongings, insurance plans, retirement accounts and other assets that you find valuable. Additionally, your estate plan determines how your assets will be distributed to your loved ones upon your death while reducing your tax liability and shielding your legacy from claims for nursing home expenses.
Everyone has an estate plan; we are all born with one. The laws of our state decided what your plan will be if you fail to establish your own estate plan. Your assets are not protected without a personalized plan. Most often, state laws for your assets will not align with your wishes for them.
The Team at Malicoat Law are experienced asset protection lawyers in Midland, MI that can lead you down a path of asset protection for yourself and your loved ones.
Understanding Estate Planning in Michigan
Estate planning starts with understanding your long-term goals for you and your family. You may want to protect some assets and pass others on to your loved ones. Each estate plan is specifically designed to meet the needs of the individual. At Malicoat Law, our Michigan estate planning attorneys can help prepare the best legal documents needed to achieve your personal estate planning goals.
Why is Michigan Estate Planning Vital?
Estate planning is essential for all ages, but as we age, the need for estate planning becomes more critical. Having an estate plan is necessary if you or your loved ones wish to control assets upon disability and/or death. It is common for people to avoid estate planning because they do not want to face the end of their lives, disability, or failing health. Many believe that an estate plan is only for wealthy people. However, a comprehensive estate plan is helpful to everyone, no matter their wealth.
You’ve worked hard, saved, and accumulated assets that took years to earn. Have you thought about what happens to those hard-earned assets should you need long-term care or upon death? An expertly designed estate plan will protect your assets from probate and shield your property from claims arising from nursing home care. Our estate planning attorneys in Midland, Michigan focus on helping clients plan so that in the event of a medical crisis or death, their wishes are fulfilled, and loved ones are given peace of mind.
Consulting and planning with a Midland estate planning attorney will take the guesswork out of estate planning and will ensure that all options are explored, and the best possible solution is utilized. Our Midland, MI attorneys can walk you through all the necessary parts of the estate plan, provide an explanation, and prepare the paperwork.
What Documents Do I Need for My Estate Plan?
This is a common question among those wishing to create an estate plan. The answer is that “it depends.” An experienced Michigan estate planning lawyer can advise you or a loved one on which documents are necessary to protect your Michigan assets legally. Some essential legal documents commonly used in an estate plan are a will, trust, powers of attorney, living will, and health care directive.
Your will specifies your intentions after you pass away. A will appoints a personal representative of your estate, who will be responsible for managing the estate, paying debts, and distributing property as instructed. The will’s distribution of assets is outlined, but a will must go through probate court in Michigan.
A trust has the advantage of not going through probate, as opposed to a will. The property is still distributed at death, but no court action is required. When you create a trust, you will manage and control your property during your lifetime, and then your beneficiaries will receive the property after your death.
Trusts can be classified into two types – revocable and irrevocable. Each type of trust is designed to address a specific issue. Each legal document has a specific purpose and advantages depending on your family circumstances.
Revocable Living Trust
There is no doubt that revocable living trusts are the most common type of trust. In most cases, the person who creates and funds the trust (grantor) acts as the directing trustee during their lifetime. During the grantor’s lifetime, the grantor may undo the trust, change its terms, and move property and assets into or out of the trust.
Irrevocable Living Trust
An irrevocable trust is legally binding on its date of execution and allows very few changes to its provisions. Trustees are individuals named by the grantor to take care of and control the assets in their Michigan irrevocable living trust. The grantor cannot revoke the trust once it is established. Irrevocable trusts have unique tax implications and other benefits, including protecting a person’s home and savings from the high cost of long-term care. These benefits can make relinquishing control worthwhile in certain instances.
Powers of Attorney
Powers of attorney are critical parts of an estate plan. There are two types of legal documents you can create, such as a healthcare power of attorney or financial power of attorney, which designate an agent. A financial power of attorney allows you to appoint another person to make decisions related to financial matters, and a health care power of attorney allows you to appoint another person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
Living wills outline your wishes regarding end-of-life care. This document can include what medical treatments you would or would not have if incapacitated. Creating a living will can take the stress off family members during emotional and challenging times and keep family harmony.
As with a living will, a health care directive lets you state what you want in terms of health care. In this legal document, you can appoint a person as your agent if incapacitated.
When Should You Start Estate Planning in Midland, Michigan?
Many estate planning lawyers in Michigan recommend starting an estate plan when you become a legal adult, then updating it every three to five years. Why start an estate plan at 18? You are responsible for your finances, healthcare, and power of attorney at this age.
Everyday life events warrant prioritizing your estate plan that you should not ignore. Regardless of your age, these major life events are reasons to start or update your estate plan:
- Home or other property ownership
- Marriage, divorce, or remarriage
- Birth or adoption of children
- Inheritance of money or other assets
- Grandchildren or other births in the extended family
Without an established estate plan, your assets are not protected. Michigan law controls what happens to your assets instead, which usually does not align with your intentions for your estate.
Your Michigan Estate Planning Attorney
Your Midland, MI estate planning attorneys should help you plan for every stage of your life. As your children grow up, you marry or divorce or sell or purchase a new property, your asset protection needs will change. Our Michigan law firm can help you create or update your estate plan to secure your assets and correctly pass on your legacy to loved ones.
Let us steer you or a loved one on the path of asset protection. Our Midland law firm is built upon strong client relationships, and we work hard to meet your estate planning goals. Your legal needs matter to Malicoat Law.
Malicoat Law is here to help you and your loved ones understand estate planning, elder law, business planning, probate, and trust administration. We welcome the opportunity to consult with new clients in Midland and surrounding Michigan areas to learn more about how we can help meet your estate planning legal needs.