Having a clear and comprehensive plan for your end-of-life wishes is important for many reasons. For the short term, it will give you peace of mind that your affairs are in order. In the future, it can ensure the proper parties receive assets after your death without court intervention or conflict.
Traditionally, “estate planning” meant having a will. While this can still be a central component of your plan, there are other options in modern estate planning that may be more advantageous and offer greater flexibility.
At the Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC, a Lansing trusts and estates lawyer can walk you through these options and provide creative ways of achieving your desires. From day one, our qualified attorneys can work with you to understand your goals, suggest solutions tailored to your situation, and draft documents that carry out your intentions.
The aim of an estate plan is to establish a framework for distributing assets in the future after you pass away. However, proper planning can include accommodations that help provide stability later in life.
The first step in effective estate planning is identifying your assets. This typically includes physical property but may also cover:
Locating and identifying all of one’s assets is an important step in crafting a comprehensive estate plan.
The next step involves identifying the beneficiaries of estate plans. These can include heirs in a will or the recipients of property in a trust. Generally, any adult can be named as a beneficiary.
However, there are certain laws that limit the naming of underage beneficiaries or personal representatives. A dedicated trusts and estates attorney at our local firm will assist with the cataloging of assets and the selection of parties who will stand to inherit in an estate plan.
The concept of what constitutes a proper estate plan has changed over the years. In the past, having a valid will may have been sufficient. According to Michigan Estates and Protected Individuals Code § 700.2501, any person over the age of 18 with sufficient mental capacity can create a will. This document serves as a way to control what happens in probate after one’s death.
As useful as wills can be, they can be inflexible and still subject potential heirs to a lengthy probate process. A possible substitute is to create a trust. Trusts allow for the transfer of property without probate court interference and may go into effect at any time. Additionally, placing property into a trust can have tax benefits for both the trust maker and the recipients of property.
Using trusts in your estate planning can also help you qualify for certain government benefits, such as Medicaid or beneficiaries that have special needs. To fully understand the various functions of a trust, reach out to a Lansing attorney.
Forming an estate plan may seem like a complex undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be with help from an experienced attorney. Protecting your assets and providing for the future of your family should always be a top priority. Additionally, the legal team at Leydorf Law Firm, PLLC is well-versed in modern estate planning techniques that can offer substantial financial advantages for the present and the future.
Let a Lansing trusts and estates lawyer at our firm guide you through every step of the process. Our team can work to identify your assets, determine what estate planning tools are right for you, and take the necessary steps to give your plan the proper legal impact. It is never too early to begin planning for the future, so give us a call today.
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