Estate Planning Serving St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Estate Planning Serving St. Clair Shores, Michigan

Deciding ahead of time what will happen with your property and assets as you age and eventually pass is critically important, as it can give you peace of mind now and save your loved ones from stress and turmoil later. Bingham Legal Group PC is proud to offer comprehensive estate planning that is binding under Michigan’s laws, helping you protect what you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Sadly, far too many people fail to make an estate plan at all, leaving the state of Michigan to decide how to dispose of their assets for them. Others assume that Internet forms or other low-cost DIY solutions are enough to protect them and their families. The truth is that these budget options are not the best way to safeguard what you have earned for your intended beneficiaries.

Don’t make these mistakes. Instead, turn to Bingham Legal Group PC for help. Our estate planning lawyer serving St. Clair Shores, Michigan, can develop a personalized plan that meets your goals. Call (248) 594-1919 or contact us online for a consultation.

Estate Planning is for Everyone

Many of the necessary decisions that go into estate planning involve scenarios that are not pleasant to consider, which is why some people avoid it. Others wrongly assume that estate planning is only for the wealthy. In reality, estate planning is for everyone.

Estate planning can make things easier for your family after your death or if you become incapacitated. A plan ensures that family members know your wishes and helps them avoid disputes that may arise. It can also ensure that any inheritance left goes to the intended parties.

Furthermore, a comprehensive estate plan can make your wishes about medical care and finances clear to your loved ones even when you are no longer to explain them yourself.

Finally, if you have minor children, an estate plan names who will care for them if the worst should happen. Knowing they will be raised by the people of your choosing protects your children and gives you peace of mind.

When Should You Begin Estate Planning?

The sooner you begin planning your estate, the more protection your plans will provide. According to Michigan law, to make a legally binding will, an individual must be at least 18 years old and of “sufficient mental capacity.” The law states that sufficient mental capacity means an individual has the ability to:

  • Understand they are providing for the distribution of their assets after their death
  • Understand the nature and extent of their property
  • Understand who will inherit from the estate
  • Understand the nature and effect of signing the will

Individuals should also change or make a will or estate plan following significant life events, including:

  • Marriage
  • Divorce
  • The birth of a child
  • Severe, terminal, or incapacitating medical diagnoses
  • Death of a beneficiary or executor (personal representative)

Individuals can also change a will’s beneficiaries or the executor at any time. In addition, updates may be necessary after major events, such as the purchase of new property or assets or because of changes in state or federal law.

Decisions Involved in Estate Planning

Estate planning generally involves drafting a will and, in some cases, establishing a trust and other legal instruments. These documents protect your property and assets, but they also do much more. With careful planning, you can:

  • Name an executor – You will need to name a personal representative. This person will see to the dissolution of your estate after your death. The executor is often a surviving spouse, adult child, or another close family member. Legally, your executor must be over the age of 18 and of sound mind.
  • Determine guardianship – You will name a legal guardian for your minor children in the event there are no surviving parents. You can also name a party to manage your children’s inheritance until they come of age.
  • Create a power of attorney (POA) and designated patient advocate – Naming a power of attorney and patient advocate helps you avoid being placed under guardianship or conservatorship if you become mentally or medically unable to make decisions about your health and finances. By naming a trusted POA and advocate, you can ensure you and your assets are in good hands.
  • Create a health care directive – This document, also called a living will, takes the pressure off your patient advocate or family members when deciding on your medical treatment if you cannot. A healthcare directive may include your wishes regarding the use of a ventilator or feeding tube, your preferences for tissue or organ donation, and more.

You may also want to set up a trust as part of your estate plan. For example, placing your assets in a revocable living trust allows you to maintain control of your property as the trustee while alive but makes passing property to successor trustees easier after your death.

Unlike wills, trusts do not have to go through probate. Trusts can also help you avoid some taxes and save beneficiaries money, time, and hassle.

Our lawyers know Michigan estate planning law inside and out. We can advise you of your best options for protecting your assets and preparing a smoother transfer of property after death.

What Happens if You Do Not Have an Estate Plan?

If you pass without a will, the court will decide how to distribute your property according to intestate laws. If disputes or complex legal issues exist, the estate could even go into probate litigation in Macomb County Probate Court.

Probate can be stressful for your surviving family members, and they may need to go to the expense of hiring probate attorneys. Assets that could enter into probate include property that is solely owned or without named beneficiaries, including:

  • Real estate holdings
  • Vehicles, jewelry, and other valuables
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Business interests
  • Open contracts

Probate also allows claimants to collect taxes, debts, or expenses owed by the estate. Without an estate plan in place, your family could be financially liable.

How Can an Estate Planning Attorney Help? 

The choices involved in estate planning can be difficult, but we are here to help. Bingham Legal Group PC offers a full range of estate planning services. Our Michigan lawyers serving St. Clair Shores can:

  • Guide you in selecting a trusted executor, POA, and patient advocate
  • Set up guardianship for minor children
  • Inventory your assets
  • Draft a will
  • Draft a health care directive
  • Establish a trust
  • Anticipate taxes and other expenses your estate will owe and make a plan for payment
  • Help you understand your options under the law and confirm your estate plan is legally binding
  • Assist family members with dissolving a loved one’s estate and distributing their assets after death

Our team also assists with elder law issues, Medicare and nursing home planningwill contests, and planning for nontraditional families and individuals. In addition, we can make changes to existing wills, trusts, and estate plans as needed.

Contact an Estate Planning Law Firm Today

The attorneys at Bingham Legal Group PC have over 60 years of estate planning experience to put at your disposal. We can use our skills and knowledge to help you plan an estate that protects your wishes and helps your loved ones avoid the stress of probate litigation after your death.

You work hard for what you have, and you want to be sure your money and property go to their intended recipients after you pass. You also want to relieve your family of the burden of making difficult end-of-life choices. Let us assist you.

Our estate planning lawyers serve St. Clair Shores, metropolitan Detroit, and Southeast Michigan. Complete our online contact form or call (248) 594-1919 for a consultation.