Estate Planning Lawyers in Brighton Helping Clients Fully Protect Their Loved Ones

One of the biggest misconceptions is that estate planning is only for seniors or the affluent. However, the truth is that most people and their loved ones can benefit from proper estate planning.

Estate planning allows individuals to express how they would like their assets and other property distributed to their heirs and other beneficiaries. More importantly, it can provide families with peace of mind knowing that they can access essential financial resources when the time comes.

Estate planning now can also be highly beneficial for individuals as they age, and it may become more apparent they will have to enter a nursing home or long-term care facility. A knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can advise clients to protect their home and other hard-earned assets.

If you are still trying to determine the benefits of estate planning or would like one of our qualified lawyers to assist you with preparing legal documents, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P. C. of Brighton, immediately. We will happily sit down and provide you with a free initial consultation to determine your needs and discuss your legal options.

What Should Be Included in an Estate Plan?

A comprehensive estate plan should contain several vital foundational documents that will provide for your loved ones and other beneficiaries and also work to protect you as you age.

The four essential elements that should be contained in every estate plan include:

  • A last will: A will outlines an individual’s final wishes and provides instructions for how their property should be distributed upon their death.
  • Living trust: Individuals create a trust and place assets into it, distributed to their beneficiaries upon death.
  • Financial power of attorney: A legal document allowing individuals to designate an “agent” with authority to manage their financial affairs.
  • Advance care directive: A written, legal document in which individuals specify who has authority to make medical decisions and what type of care should be provided in the future should they become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves.

One of the benefits of an estate plan is that it is custom-made for an individual’s needs. For example, one of the little-known benefits of estate planning is that it can help seniors protect their homes even if they need to go to a nursing home.

To learn more about what should be included in an estate plan, contact our law offices, and ask to schedule a meeting with one of our knowledgeable estate planning attorneys.

What Happens if I Die and Do Not Leave a Will?

If an individual dies without a will in Michigan, they are said to have died intestate. State law and the probate court will determine how the decedent’s assets will be distributed to beneficiaries according to intestacy succession law.

Michigan intestacy law distributes assets based on the following rules:

  • If the decedent was married but has no living parents, children, or grandchildren, their surviving spouse receives their entire estate.
  • If the decedent was married and has children or grandchildren with their spouse, the surviving spouse receives the first $150,000 of the estate and half of the rest, with the remaining being distributed to their children equally.
  • Suppose the decedent was married but has children or grandchildren not related to their surviving spouse. In that case, the spouse will receive the first $100,000 of the estate and half of the rest, with the remaining being distributed to the children equally.
  • If the decedent has no spouse or descendants, the estate would either go to their surviving parents or be distributed equally among their siblings.

It should be noted that legal disputes often arise between family members when an individual dies and does not leave a will. In addition, if an individual dies and has minor children, it is not guaranteed that the other parent or grandparents can obtain custody.

However, one of the easiest ways to prevent family legal disputes and potential custody battles is to write a will that provides instructions on who should gain custody of children and how your final wishes should be carried out.

Do All Estates Have to Go Through Probate in Michigan?

One of the most common questions estate planning attorneys are often asked is how probate can be avoided. However, not all estates have to go through probate. Typically, probate is only required when the decedent passes away and leaves assets in their name only.

However, if the decedent had joint ownership over specific types of property, it may be possible for the co-owner to have the assets transferred into their name without the need for probate.

Some examples of assets that do not need to go through the probate process include:

  • Life insurance policies that are listed as payable to a designated beneficiary.
  • Property co-owned in a Joint Tenancy, which automatically transfers to the other owner.
  • Assets held within a trust.
  • Bank accounts, investments, or retirement accounts that have a designated payable on death (POD) beneficiary.
  • Property jointly owned by the decedent’s spouse through Tenancy by the Entirety Ownership.

The probate process can be lengthy and time-consuming and often prevents family members from accessing the financial resources they need after their loved one passes away. In some cases, the legal fees and time involved in navigating the probate process can cause surviving family members to suffer financial hardship as they wait for access to their loved one’s assets.

To learn how to protect your family and help them avoid the probate process, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P.C., to learn how our skilled attorneys can help. We can explain how you can structure your assets so that your family has access to them quickly and with the least amount of legal wrangling.

Why Should I Choose Your Law Firm For My Estate Planning Needs?

Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P.C., of Brighton, MI is a law firm dedicated to helping individuals plan for their families. Our attorneys realize it can be emotionally challenging to think about life for your family after you’re gone.

However, with proper estate planning, you can be assured that your loved ones will be provided for and your assets distributed according to your final wishes.

When you choose our law firm for your estate planning needs you can be assured, we will treat you like family. One aspect that sets us apart from other law firms is that we take the time to listen to our clients’ needs. Afterwards we then work with our clients to create a custom-made estate plan that provides clients with peace of mind knowing that their families will not struggle in their absence.

If you are ready to create a personalized estate plan or would like more information about how we can help you plan for the future, contact Estate Planning & Elder Law Services, P.C. by calling 888-663-7407 and ask to schedule a free no-obligation consultation with a qualified legal team member.