Crafting Your Will: Essential Considerations for Michigan Residents

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Why Create a Will?

One of the most critical steps in estate planning is creating a will. By doing so, you can remain in the driver’s seat, so to speak, with your wishes and goals for what happens to your assets and how your loved ones are cared for long after you are gone.

Though it can be difficult at times to consider our mortality, planning for the unknown can provide peace of mind for us and our loved ones and ensure that your legacy is respected and continues to follow the path you set forth.

Prepare to Create Your Will

Have honest and transparent conversations with loved ones regarding the plan to create a will and what you want the will to help you achieve. If you are married, it’s important to speak with your spouse regarding them creating a will so that your intentions match and similar information can be congruent through both wills with fewer questions.

Discuss plans for how you wish your assets to be divided, who you want to benefit from your legacy, who you don’t want to have access to your assets, and more. You may wish to include a charitable organization that is important to you that may partially benefit from your assets, and therefore, you should share these ideas with your loved ones.

Be As Specific as You Can To Avoid Questions

The next step is to ensure that all your assets are accounted for and whom you wish to receive them. Walking through this process ensures that your loved ones are cared for, and those you may not want to gain from your assets can be ruled out. For example, some of us have a family member who may not make financially sound decisions, or there are sensitive issues that make barring them from access to any assets crucial. Stipulating this clearly in your will can help ensure your wishes are met.

Other information to consider is if you will need to designate a guardian for any minor children should something happen to both legal parents of younger children. It’s important to consider naming a secondary guardian should something happen to the primary, and also consider choosing someone to help manage the children’s property if you wish this person to be separate from the guardian you choose.

Last but not least, choosing someone whom you explicitly trust should be named the personal representative. This person will oversee the execution of your will and ensure that it is handled as you wish it to be. Thorough discussions with this person can ensure that they are clear on your wishes, aren’t left with questions, and can oversee the process precisely to your liking.

It is typically considered best practice to name a secondary personal representative, just as you did with a guardian, so if something should happen to the primary named in the will, you aren’t left without proper management of your intentions.

What Happens if I Die Without a Will in Michigan?

If you pass away without a will in Michigan, your assets and legacy will be susceptible to Intestate Succession Laws. These laws dictate who will obtain your assets, such as your spouse, children, or other immediate family members. Courts will review your family relationships and determine who the assets will be transferred to. For example, if you don’t have a spouse, the courts may transfer your assets to your parents, children, or other family members.

Without a will, your assets will typically also need to go through a probate process, which can be tedious, time-consuming, and expensive. Having an effective will in place can prevent most or all of the probation process, leaving fewer obstacles for your loved ones.

Other Valuable Estate Planning Tools and Strategies

With many estate planning tools out there, our clients find peace in knowing that the estate planning process isn’t “cookie cutter” and that various resources are available to them to create a customized solution.

If you’d like to protect your assets, you can begin by creating a will, but you can also consider other valuable options.

Creating a trust and funding it with your assets can ensure they are safe from the probate process and will be transferred upon your death to those designated within the trust. There are several options for trusts, so you can be sure to find one that best suits your needs and wishes.

A life insurance policy, an IRA, or other retirement accounts can be set up with a designated beneficiary, so these assets are accounted for.

A Transfer on Death deed can help you designate a person to transfer a title to upon your death on things like a vehicle or real estate.

Bank accounts can typically be set up as Payable on Death, meaning that the account would quickly transfer to the named person when you pass away.

Decades of Experience in Helping Our Clients

With decades of experience within our team, it’s no wonder our clients look to us to work with them and their loved ones. We work closely with our clients and their families to ensure all aspects of their estate have been reviewed and clearly stipulated so when the time comes, our clients have peace of mind knowing they have taken care of what matters.

Loved ones also have peace of mind and can focus their energy on mourning and navigating a difficult chapter rather than spending their time looking for answers, waiting for the probate process to complete, and more.

Contact our office today at 248-997-4394 to set up your free initial case evaluation. We look forward to creating a plan you and your loved ones can be proud of.

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