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Estate Planning Sounds Like It’s Only for the Rich (It’s Not)

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The word ‘estate’ may give a general impression of expensive houses, luxurious cars, and anything involving a lot of money. Debunk the idea now. Everything you’ve ever gathered in your life is your estate, and it’s not only wise but also essential to have a strategy to handle it and even your life itself.

It is hard to consider aging in a fast-moving society, let alone dying. Many people make the mistake of believing that estate planning is only for the rich and wealthy, and they do not realize that it is crucial for everyone. The estate planning attorneys at the Leydorf Law Firm based in Michigan explain in this article that estate planning isn’t only for the rich.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is a financial strategy that plans an individual to pass on to loved ones or next of kin his or her wealth and assets. Many individuals have assets they want to pass on after their death. An estate plan is not just for the elderly or the wealthy.

Everyone has an estate, and that estate forms all of your land, both physical and intellectual. To use the word ‘estate,’ you don’t have to be wealthy or have a certain amount of money. Estate planning serves as a guideline for your family to follow after you pass away, covering tax concerns, distribution instructions, debt management, and even burial preferences.

What does an Estate Plan Include?

Following are some of the tools which an estate plan may include:

Drafting a Will

A Will is a document that helps you determine who shall take care of your children or any other beneficiaries you intend to distribute your property so that the Court may not make its own decisions.

Creating a Trust

Creating a Trust helps to provide for your minor children’s care and protect assets for your minor children. It helps to avoid probate and mitigate unnecessary taxes. It is also useful to protect your heir’s inheritances from creditors. You can also create a Trust to pass on your assets for a charitable cause.

After-death planning and Incapacitation

An effective estate plan may also help you handle your affairs after your death or in the event you’re incapacitated:

    • A durable power of attorney for your representative to manage the affairs while you are incapacitated.
    • A medical power of attorney for your loved ones to have the ability to make important medical decisions for you when you can’t.
    • Advance medical directives, sometimes referred to as a living will, determine what type and amount of care provided to you at the end of your life – nutrition, hydration, medication, etc.

The benefits of Estate Planning for everyone

There is a widespread myth that having little assets means there’s no need for an estate plan. Estate planning is one of the most crucial tasks that individuals can do throughout their lives and the most neglected. It can be difficult tasks to write a will, arrange your estate, and prepare for the probate process. It is just not easy to think of and plan for your mortality. Still, an effective estate plan not only provides for the distribution of your estate after your death but also discusses who will decide things for you and manage your affairs if you are unable to do so on your own.

A thorough review of financial assets is the first step in creating a strategy for your estate plan. Every individual’s portfolio is different, and it is necessary to assess properties, savings accounts, and other information accurately. You need to identify your objectives, who will have control of the assets, and how you want to manage your future affairs.

Consequences of not having an Estate Plan

You would lose all rights to have some say about what happens to your properties, your young children, and even to yourself when you die or if you become incapacitated if you chose to ignore estate planning. In Michigan, if someone dies without a will or dies intestate, then the assets of the person are distributed in compliance with Michigan intestacy rules.

Without proper estate planning, your heirs or the creditors will have to use the local probate court to obtain your assets. Probate is a court-supervised procedure that, upon your death, transfers the title of your estate to your heirs. It’s expensive and very time-consuming. It also puts a significant strain on loved ones who are still mourning because of their loss. Avoiding probate court can be the most important reason to create an estate plan.

If you become disabled without an estate plan, guardianship proceedings would have to be started with the probate court to nominate someone to make medical decisions for you, and proceedings for conservatorship are required for someone to acquire authority to administer your finances. Your assets would have to pass through the Death Probate when you die. Sometimes, these are lengthy, exhausting, and costly procedures.

As long as the injured person is alive and remains incapacitated, Lifetime Probate lasts. Usually, the Death Probate process takes at least a year to complete and absorbs 5 to 10 percent of a probate estate value. These expenses can be even higher if you own real estate in more than one state because each piece of property must pass through probate in the state where the property is located.

Consulting with an experienced Lansing, Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

An estate plan is something that you should have regardless of how much money or assets you have, or think you don’t have. It doesn’t matter what your age is; an estate plan is vital if an emergency happens.

Now that you understand Estate Planning’s importance and why it’s NOT only for the rich, you need to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to prepare an effective estate plan for you.

If you’re seeking an estate planning attorney in Michigan, you may consult with an estate planning attorney at the Leydorf Law Firm located in Lansing, Michigan.  Call us today at 517-388-6800 or visit our website www.yourestateplanninglawyer.com.