estate administration & probate Archives

What are some common mistakes made while estate planning?

Proper estate planning not only ensures your final wishes are carried out, it also saves your family a great deal of stress after you’re gone.  That’s why avoiding common blunders is so crucial, which requires going into the process fully informed. In order to ensure you have what you need to plan for assets after you’re gone, Kiplinger offers the following advice.

3 Essential Estate Planning Tips

No matter your age or financial status, estate planning is a crucial aspect of preparing for the future. For people in Michigan without an estate plan in place, you could run the risk of your assets being dispersed to the wrong people or even having your wishes for end-of-life care being denied. In this case, U.S. News & World Report offers the following tips to help you create a solid and legally binding estate plan.

What is a charitable trust?

If you are a Michigan resident who enjoys donating to your favorite charity, you may wish to consider establishing a charitable trust so your giving can be more structured and possibly greater than it is now. In addition, one of the best things about a charitable trust is that you can split the assets it contains between your designated charity and a designated noncharitable beneficiary, including yourself if you so desire.

What is a pour-over will?

If you are a Michigan resident who already has a living trust, you may wish to update your will so as to make it a pour-over will. Per FindLaw, your pour-over will generally is a short and simple document stating that your executor must pour over all of the assets you own at the time of your death into the living trust you set up during your lifetime. It is your catch-all document that applies not only to the assets already in your living trust, but also those that you may have forgotten or neglected to put in your living trust.

The power of powers of appointment

It is not a closely held secret that estate planning and probate in Michigan are complicated. However, some key tools corollary to the process might help individuals avoid the most frustrating and confusing legal procedures surrounding inheritance and long-term wealth management.

What is a domestic asset protection trust?

In 2017, Michigan became the 17th state to adopt a law that enables residents and property owners to establish domestic asset protection trusts. For those with a lot to lose, a DAPT can help protect a lot of their assets from being lost.

Can no-contest clauses be enforced?

Estate planning experts in Battle Creek will tell you that seeing to your estate planning early on will help reduce the chances of there being disputes amongst your beneficiaries once you are gone. The last thing that you want to see happen is for your family to become torn apart over arguments about your will. Thus, you may think that the best way to avoid this is to attach a no-contest clause to it, with the hope that such language will discourage any of your loved one's from challenging its provisions. The question them becomes are such clauses enforceable? 

Will your estate be taxed?

The common belief amongst many in Battle Creek may be that the government will always find a way to take its bite out of your assets and property. That assumption likely extends to your estate; why else would there be an estate tax? Yet rather than questioning why there is an estate tax, a better question may be whether or not your estate will actually owe it. 

Surviving spouses receive protection under intestate succession

Michigan law, like other states, provides for how a deceased person’s estate will pass if the deceased did not have a valid will in place. Many people die without a will. When they do, they have given up the power to direct who gets any part of their property.

Myth-busting: What you need to know about wills

Thinking about your Michigan estate planning needs now is an indication that you have assets and/or loved ones, and you care about what happens to them after you die. We at Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, P.C., have often provided counsel for people who are planning their wills.

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