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Detroit Probate, Trust & Estate Administration Law Blog

Choosing an executor for your estate

A solidly drafted will with careful, specific provisions can do a lot to preserve your estate and distribute your assets according to your wishes. However, it is also very important to select the right person to handle this process. Appointing a good executor can ease the way for a smooth probate.

Generally, Michigan law allows you to appoint any adult without a felony conviction, including one who lives out of state. Courts will usually approve the testator's choice of executor unless another person challenges the appointment and shows the proposed or current executor is not competent or suitable to perform the duties in question. Considering the executor's duties can help you select a person you think will be able and willing to handle them.

Addressing a probate dispute after losing your spouse

The probate process can bring up many challenges, and these hardships can be especially hard for some people (such as those who lost a loved one in recent weeks or months). If your spouse passed away, your entire life may have changed in numerous ways and you could be struggling on a daily basis. You may be completely unsure of how to move forward and to make things worse, you may be going through a probate dispute. Our law office knows that these disputes can shatter families across the state of Michigan and they should be handled appropriately.

Losing a marital partner can lead to emotional pain, financial struggles, extreme levels of anxiety and uncertainty over how the estate will be handled. Worse, estate matters can lead to hard feelings and resentment. In some instances, family members may turn against each other because they are not happy with the decisions that were made by someone who has passed. It can be helpful to discuss these issues with your family and look for ways to restore peace and pursue an amicable outcome. However, we are fully aware that this cannot always be accomplished and some disputes result in lifelong bitterness.

Trusts, beneficiaries and taxes

There are many estate planning issues to take into consideration, but some require special attention, such as tax matters. Whether you are a beneficiary and are unsure of your tax obligations after a loved one passed away or you are setting up an estate plan and are unsure of how it will be impacted by taxes, it is critical to handle these matters properly and find answers to your questions. Both estate planning and taxes can be confusing and stressful to deal with, but it is essential to work through these issues properly.

First of all, it is important to remember that there are different types of trusts which have different tax implications. You may want to review some of the more favorable types of trusts with respect to taxation if you are worried about how your estate plan will be affected by the IRS. If you are a beneficiary, it is very important to figure out what taxes you may owe as a result of income received from the trust, since you may face harsh consequences for failing to do so.

Going over your estate plan due to career changes

We have covered many of the reasons why people decide to revise their estate plans, such as the birth of a child, an injury they suffered or the end of their marriage. There are other circumstances in which it may become necessary to go over your estate plan again, however. For example, you may experience a number of different changes with regard to your career which may make it necessary to revise certain aspects of your estate plan. In Detroit, and cities all over the state of Michigan, those whose lives change in significant ways should ensure that their estate plan is also taken into consideration.

Many different career changes could prompt you to revisit your estate plan. For example, you may have been promoted or started a new job, which could significantly affect your finances and your future. Or, perhaps you are an entrepreneur who is considering starting a new business or closing a business, which could also necessitate key changes to your estate plan. You may want to change the way in which your assets are split up among those you love or make other revisions to your estate plan.

How can I prevent conflicts between my heirs?

When creating an estate plan, it’s natural that you want to leave a portion of your assets to your children to ensure they’re taken care of financially. Conflicts may easily arise in this case, which can put your family bonds and estate in jeopardy. While you can’t always prevent your heirs contesting your estate plan, AARP explains how you can potentially stop a conflict before it occurs.

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Estate planning and back-to-school season

If you have kids in school, September may be a hectic month, to say the least. Not only could your kids be facing challenges related to school, from adjusting to a new daily schedule to issues involving classmates or schoolwork, but you may have additional stress as well. After all, driving kids to school and extracurricular activities can be demanding. Some parents allow these stressors to get in the way of creating an estate plan during this time of year, but it is extremely important to make sure that you do not push off estate planning.

First of all, you could be able to reduce your stress levels by carefully reviewing your different options and gaining confidence in the decisions you make with respect to estate planning. There are many options on the table, such as different types of trusts or perhaps a will. Reviewing your individual circumstances is paramount. For some parents, this is an excellent time of year to set up an estate plan. For example, the house may be quieter with kids in school and other stressors (such as the holiday season) are not present.

Why unmarried couples in Michigan need estate plans

Estate planning may seem like something you do not have to worry about until you are older or wealthier. However, estate plans are necessary for every stage of life to guarantee the safety of your health and assets should you become incapacitated or pass on, either of which can happen at any time.

A will and other legal documents are even more important if you are in a long-term, committed relationship with someone but not married. The law favors surviving spouses, granting them certain privileges in the absence of estate plans or in a family dispute. When you are unmarried, you and your partner do not receive the same legal protection. Therefore, it is imperative that you draft estate plans to ensure your property will go where you want it to go and that the people you want in control will be.

Preventing probate litigation

There are many different reasons why probate litigation arises and the consequences can be incredibly damaging. Sometimes, these cases may bring financial consequences for those involved and litigation can also be stressful and time-consuming. Worst of all, in some cases, litigation can tear families apart. As a result, you may benefit from thinking about how to prevent probate litigation. Whether you are setting up an estate plan, have been named as the executor of an estate or are listed as a beneficiary, there may be different ways to avoid probate litigation.

If you are creating a will, it could be wise to think ahead and look for ways to reduce the probability of litigation arising over your estate. This can be difficult, if not impossible, but there may be a number of ways in which you can reduce the likelihood of a bitter dispute. After all, you likely do not want your loved ones to go through additional hardships due to a bitter will contest. For example, you may want to think about your beneficiaries and the way in which property will be passed down. It could also be helpful to speak with your loved ones about estate issues beforehand to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

The birth of a child and estate plan revisions

We have been over some of the reasons why people need to make revisions to their estate plans, whether they file for divorce or are seriously hurt in an accident and have their entire life changed. However, the birth of a child is a common reason why many people in Detroit and across Michigan decide to revise their estate plan (or even set one up in the first place). If you are expecting a child, or if you are awaiting the birth of a grandchild, it may be necessary to revisit your estate plan and make any necessary revisions.

If you are a new parent, you may want to revise your will in order to ensure that they have a legal guardian in the event that anything happens to your or their other parent. Or, perhaps you are a new grandparent and you want to set up a trust in order to make sure that your grandchild will have the support they need. Regardless, it is very important to take children into consideration when it comes to estate planning and there are various reasons why it is smart to revise your estate plan once you have a new addition to the family.

The importance of a unique estate plan

With estate planning, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you are in the early stages of setting up an estate plan, it is important for you to find out which route is best given your personal circumstances. For example, some people decide to move forward with a will, while others benefit more from a trust. Moreover, there are many different examples of trusts, from special needs trusts and charitable trusts to other options. In Detroit and cities across Michigan, it is important for people to carefully approach estate planning with their loved ones in mind.

You likely have a variety of unique details surrounding your life that must be carefully taken into consideration with regard to your estate plan. For example, you might have a considerable amount of investments or savings, a family-run business or a lot of property. On the other hand, you may have a loved one with special needs or a very large family with many children. From naming an executor to deciding how your assets will be split up among many beneficiaries, there are all sorts of estate decisions that may have to be made and these can be tricky.

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