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    Estate Planning in Michigan Providing Quality Legal Services to Help Individuals and Families Plan For the Future

    When many individuals hear the term estate planning, they mistakenly believe it is only for seniors or those with substantial wealth. However, estate planning can benefit most individuals by providing various legal services to meet specific needs.

    Estate planning is an excellent way for individuals to ensure that their family members are provided for and that their final wishes are fulfilled after their death. In addition, a well-crafted estate plan can help surviving loved ones avoid the costly probate process and potential estate litigation that could delay their ability to obtain essential financial resources.

    However, proper estate planning can help individuals and families have the peace of mind to face the future confidently. If you want to create an estate plan, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C. of Michigan, to learn how we can help.


    Why is Estate Planning Essential For My Family’s Future?


    One of the essential benefits of an estate plan is that it can help individuals arrange their personal and financial affairs before they pass away.

    For example, Michigan citizens should never assume that other family members will automatically obtain guardianship of their minor children when they die. Sadly, in many cases, a minor will end up in state custody until the court can decide what is best for the child.

    Individuals also mistakenly believe that if they do not leave a last will, their assets, such as bank accounts and real estate property, will also be transferred to their loved ones. However, this is not always the case, and in many instances, these assets are subject to Michigan probate.

    Nevertheless, with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, individuals can avoid probate, control their finances, and protect their beneficiaries after they pass away. Contact our law offices to schedule an appointment with a Michigan probate attorney who can advise you of your legal rights.

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    What Legal Services Does Your Estate Planning Law Firm in Michigan Offer Its Clients?


    Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C of Michigan offers a variety of services to assist clients looking to prepare for the future in several practice areas, including:

    • Basic estate planning services, including wills and trusts. Our Michigan estate planning lawyers can assist you with creating a will, naming a personal representative, and they have extensive legal experience in trust administration.
    • Power of attorney: Regardless of your needs, our legal team can help you obtain the proper power of attorney for your situation. For example, if you become incapacitated, you may need a durable power of attorney to make financial and medical decisions.
    • Tax planning: If you are single and have substantial assets totaling more than 5,430,000 or $10,860,000 for couples, you must consider advanced tax planning options that can help you manage your money and provide for future generations.

    We also offer many elder care services that help clients plan for the future, such as structuring assets if they need long-term care, nursing home care, Medicaid planning, or assigning someone to act as a patient advocate to make medical decisions.



    Do Your Estate Planning Attorneys Have Solid Legal Experience in Helping Families Avoid Probate?


    Our law firm has comprehensive experience in helping clients with their estate plans. One of the most common concerns for individuals and families revolves around the legal process of probate law. Clients often fear their families will be left with significant legal bills as they work to try and settle their estate.

    However, our estate planning attorneys can help individuals feel assured their assets will be passed on to their families and avoid probate court.

    Nevertheless, in some instances, families may need a probate attorney who can represent their interests. For this reason, Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P.C. is dedicated to helping families navigate the complex Michigan probate court. However, unlike other law firms, we strive to keep our fees reasonable.

    If you require a Michigan probate lawyer or have questions about how the probate process works, contact our law firm to schedule a consultation so we can review your case and determine what legal options are available.


    Experience and Reliability

    Our founder, Christopher T. Lindsay, has over twenty years of experience helping clients with their estate planning and elder care needs. Mr. Lindsay and our legal staff take pride in providing clients and their families with fast, reliable service to give them the confidence they need to face the future.

    Friendly and Courteous

    Many of our clients have often remarked how when they use the services of Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C., they feel like family. Unlike other law firms that treat people like a number, we strive to get to know our clients and to offer them high-quality service for their needs.

    Personalized Service

    When clients come to us with their legal needs, our staff takes the time to sit down and listen to their concerns. Based on the information we gather; our legal team can then create a customized plan to protect their interests and those of future generations.

    Reputation for Excellence

    Our law firm has a proven track record of consistently providing clients with excellent service with their estate planning or elder care needs. For this reason, our legal staff strives to take time to ensure clients feel confident and satisfied with the legal services we have provided to them.

    Honest Evaluations

    Often, clients feel overwhelmed when they consider making an estate plan or having to discuss the changing needs of an elderly family member. However, our staff will always provide honest evaluations about what legal services our law firm can provide and will work diligently to ensure those needs are met.

    Reasonable Fees

    Our law firm offers clients high-quality legal services for a reasonable fee. We do not believe in charging clients high fees for essential services that help to protect them and their families. Instead, our law firm offers a variety of estate planning and elder care services for a reasonable cost.

    What Type of Results Can I Expect From Your Michigan Law Firm?


    When clients come to Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C., they often remark on how they instantly feel at home and how we treat them more like family than just another client.

    Because we strive to keep the cost of our legal services reasonable, we have clients return to us repeatedly to help them with business needs, probate court, or other legal services. We do not believe that clients should have to pay an excessive amount of money to protect themselves or their families.

    Our attorneys have the knowledge, skill, and determination it takes to make clients feel confident that their legal needs will be safeguarded during their life and after their death. Our law firm recognizes that it can be overwhelming to plan for your family after you pass away. However, when you come to us for help, our attorneys take the time to listen to your concerns and then create a customized plan that accounts for your legal needs.


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    What Makes Your Michigan Estate Planning Law Firm the Best Choice For My Estate Planning Needs?


    Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C. has proudly served Michigan citizens and provided quality legal services for clients. For almost 20 years, our founder, Christopher T. Lindsay, has focused on practice areas that include elder law, estate planning, and probate and trust administration.

    In addition, Mr. Lindsey and other members of our legal team have provided services that have assisted elderly clients with Medicaid planning so that their assets and property will be protected from Medicaid estate recovery after their death.

    Regardless of your legal needs, Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C. can help you create a plan that will help you feel secure in life.

    If you are searching for an estate attorney in Michigan who can help you with your needs and make you feel confident to face the future, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C. at 888-663-7407 to schedule a case consultation.

    Frequently Asked Questions
    What is the Michigan probate process?

    Under Michigan law, the probate court ensures the decedent’s property is distributed after they pass away. This legal process, known as probate administration, gives the personal representative the legal authority to gather the decedent’s property, pay outstanding debts and taxes, and transfer assets to the rightful beneficiaries. However, in cases where the decedent left no will and significant assets, it is often necessary for the family or beneficiaries to hire a probate attorney who can assist them with navigating the complex legal system. With the help of a skilled estate planning lawyer in Michigan, families can typically save valuable time and money to obtain the resources they need.

    How long does the probate process take in Michigan?

    Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer on how long the probate process may take. The length of time varies based on many factors, including the size of the estate, whether a will can be located, issues that may arise with the personal representative or disputes among heirs or creditors. For example, suppose heirs feel the personal representative is not effectively handling estate administration. In that case, this can lead to legal battles that take considerable time to be decided by the probate court. As a result, the estate administration can take years to complete. However, in most cases, probate takes approximately seven months to complete.

    Do all estates have to go through probate in Michigan?

    A common misconception is that all estates must go through probate in Michigan. However, not all estates meet the legal requirements for probate. For example, assets that are jointly held, such as bank accounts and real estate. Probate can also be avoided if an individual has created a will or living trust outlining how their assets are to be distributed. However, depending on the size of the estate, if an individual dies without having made a last will or trust and has assets solely listed in their name, the estate will most likely have to go through probate.

    How can I authorize someone to make medical decisions if I am incapacitated?

    An individual can make several different legal designations to grant another person legal authority to make medical decisions should they become incapacitated. These designations include patient advocacy, durable power of attorney for healthcare, and healthcare proxy. However, not all of these designations come with the same legal authority. Therefore, it is always best to consult an experienced attorney who can evaluate your needs and determine the best legal option. For example, even though a patient advocate designation allows another person to make medical decisions for you, it does not give them legal authority to handle your financial matters.

    What medical decisions can a patient advocate make for another person?

    The individual who designates another person to be their patient advocate can authorize them to make various medical decisions on their behalf. Some of the most common decisions that patient advocates are authorized to make include consent or refusal of medical treatment, the ability to sign a Do-Not-Resuscitate order, and arranging for mental health or home healthcare treatment. In addition, the patient advocate may arrange for care in a hospital or nursing home. However, individuals considering assigning a patient advocate to help them should they become incapacitated should always hire an attorney who can provide more information regarding their legal rights.

    What is a special needs trust?

    Under Michigan law, parents and other family members can set up trusts for individuals with special needs. Family members can leave money, life insurance, or property to a special needs individual without fear of them losing essential government benefits but assuring they can lead a comfortable life. Several different types of special needs trusts (SNT) are available, such as first or third-party special needs trusts, and created based on several legal factors. Because the assets are under the trustee’s control and not the beneficiary, they do not count against their eligibility for public benefits.

    Can a revocable trust protect my residence from being seized by a nursing home?

    Unfortunately, a revocable trust will not shield your assets from being seized by a nursing home. When a revocable trust is established, the assets contained within the trust are still under the owner’s control. However, individuals who feel they may eventually have to enter a nursing home or other long-term care facility should consider creating an irrevocable trust to protect their assets. When assets are placed in an irrevocable trust, they are considered the property of the trust, not the owner, and are thus shielded from being seized. However, other qualifications must be met, so it is always best to hire an elder law attorney to assist you with structuring your assets.

    How can a person avoid guardianship?

    If a Michigan court determines that an individual is incapacitated and needs ongoing care, they make them a “ward” of the state and appoint a guardian to manage their affairs. Guardianship is typically time-consuming and restrictive. However, individuals can avoid guardianship by appointing a Patient Advocate ahead of time who will be authorized to make medical decisions on their behalf. Appointing a Patient Advocate is a far better option because it gives the individual making the designation the ability to choose who will act as their agent. In contrast, if the court decides, it may be someone unfamiliar with the ward.

    Does Medicare cover the costs of long-term care?

    Medicare covers certain “skilled” nursing services and in-home care costs for a limited period of time and only under certain conditions. After that, Medicare does not provide coverage for long-term care costs.

    Do I have to spend my life savings before I can qualify for Medicaid?

    No. With proper planning, a majority, if not all, of your assets can be protected from Medicaid “spend down.”

    Is it too late to protect my assets from Medicaid “spending down” once I become incapacitated or have applied for Medicaid?

    Maybe. The options available to you will depend upon your situation. An attorney experienced in long-term care and Medicaid planning can explain your remaining options, if any.

    Will the State tell me how I can protect my assets and still qualify for Medicaid?

    No. While the State agencies are helpful, they will not explain how to protect your assets from”spend down.”