Planning for the future of children or other family members following death is important regardless of whether substantial assets or wealth are involved. Without a Last Will and Testament or trust in place the division of assets, property, and debts will be left for the court to decide. This could result in assets being distributed in a way the deceased never wanted or intended. Having an estate plan in place helps avoid dissension among family members, who otherwise may disagree on how property is distributed or become estranged from loved ones. Those who want to learn more are encouraged to contact a Novi estate planning attorney with Melissa Pearce & Associates, PLC at 248-397-9606.
Many people have the misconception that only those with great wealth need an estate plan. The truth is, anyone who has real estate, a home, vehicles, cash, or other assets needs an estate plan. It makes no difference whether someone has a few hundred dollars in their bank account or tens of thousands. An estate plan ensures that surviving loved ones receive assets upon your death. It is important to note that this set of legal documents also make it possible to appoint a friend, charitable organization, or others as beneficiaries. An estate plan with a trust helps loved ones avoid the messy process of probate, which often takes months or even longer. It also makes it possible to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. Estate plans also provide for care should the testator become incapacitated.
An experienced Novi estate planning attorney understands the purpose of making an estate plan varies depending on each unique situation. No one can predict what will happen in the next minute, hour, day, or week. It is important to put financial, legal, and medical affairs in order regardless of the assets or wealth a person does or does not have. There are several devices within an estate plan including:
Estate plans protect minor children, protect heirs from the Internal Revenue Service, protect beneficiaries, and more. For spouses who have remarried and have blended families, estate planning is essential. Without an estate plan in place, the courts wield enormous power regarding the guardianship of minor children. Courts may divide property, cash, family heirlooms, homes, furnishings, cars, bank accounts, and other belongings or assets in any way they please.
Melissa Pearce & Associates, PLC provides a wide range of estate planning services tailored to the unique needs of the client.
A will accomplishes a number of things, including who will be appointed guardian of minor children upon the testator’s death. Wills can detail the handling of payments of taxes, expenses, and debts, and describe how property will be distributed to survivors. Without a will, property is allocated according to Michigan law.
Trusts include testamentary, revocable and irrevocable, and living trusts, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Trusts do not go through the probate process and provide asset protection, tax savings, and more. A revocable trust can be altered or changed during the grantor’s lifetime and is often set up to relocate assets apart from probate.
According to the American Bar Association , it is recommended that those curious about whether probate is necessary consult with a Novi estate planning attorney. Probate is a legal process that recognizes a will and designates an executor who will manage the estate of the decedent and disperse assets to the indicated beneficiaries. Probate can be confusing and complicated without the support of a skilled lawyer.
Power of Attorney (POA) documents allow someone who is appointed by the grantor’s to act legally on their behalf in situations that may leave them incapacitated or unable to communicate. Two primary types of POA documents in Novi, MI include:
Life is often unpredictable and no one expects to become incapacitated or suddenly ill. An estate planning lawyer may be able to provide guidance regarding power of attorney matters.
Guardians and conservators are named to provide for the care of minor or disabled children, and in some cases adults who are deemed legally incompetent. A family member may be incapable of managing their financial affairs or making medical decisions. A parent would want to establish guardianship for a minor or disabled charge should the parent pass or become incapacitated. Families often want legal guidance regarding guardianship and the documentation, filings, hearings, and other matters involved. When a guardian or conservator is not designated, the court will make the decision regarding who will raise the children. Guardianship issues are often addressed within a living trust.
There are many state and federal laws that govern estate planning and the various documents necessary to provide for the future. The benefits of working with a knowledgeable and experienced Novi estate planning attorney are many, as navigating the legal system is both confusing and complicated. Some of the areas our team may be able to provide assistance with include:
Every family is different, each with their own unique needs. It can be unpleasant to think about planning for the future, but it is necessary to protect and provide for those we care about the most after we are gone. Those in need of legal guidance or who have questions about estate planning should feel free to reach out to Melissa Pearce & Associates, PLC at 248-397-9606.