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Detroit Probate, Trust & Estate Administration Law Blog

Guardianship vs. conservatorship

It’s an unfortunate truth that as people age, health and cognitive faculties deteriorate. Michigan residents who select a power of attorney in their will can ensure their estate and loved ones are cared for if this eventuality occurs. At the Bingham Legal Group, PC we often help clients petition the court to establish a guardian or conservator in the event there is no designated power of attorney.

According to Parent Giving, a guardian makes decisions regarding the personal affairs of the affected person. This may include making provisions for living arrangements in a care facility, necessary treatments or day to day medical and dental care. Although a guardian can decide their ward’s place of residence, the court may have the final approval for any relocation. State law may dictate whether decisions regarding major medical treatments are appropriate.

Establishing a supplemental needs trust

Gathering documents, listing assets and creating a will is seldom at the top of the preferred activities list for Michigan residents. While a will is beneficial for anyone with assets, estate planning that includes a trust is imperative if you have a special needs child. At Bingham Legal Group PC, we have experience assisting clients in the setup and administration of a variety of trusts, based on your needs.

According to U.S. News & World Report planning ahead and establishing an appropriate special needs trust is critical to ensuring government benefits remain unaffected after your death. You do not need vast wealth to set up and fund an account that can help your child with expenses. Estate planning tools such as these are often put into place when there is a large settlement resulting from an accident or malpractice suit.

Here are 2 important documents for millennials to have

If you are young, single and healthy, you probably give little thought to preparing a will. Perhaps you also give little thought to what happens if you should become incapacitated.

A devastating car crash could happen, or you could sustain a brain injury in a bad fall. Who would make medical and financial decisions for you? Here are two documents you should have, no matter what your age.

Make sure you name a guardian for your minor children

No one wants to think of dying, but it is important to plan for it, or else things can get really messy. For parents with young children in Michigan, naming a guardian is imperative in the unfortunate event both parents pass away before the kids turn 18. There are a number of factors you should consider before making a decision so your children get the best care possible.

According to FindLaw, legally a guardian is a person you name to take care of the needs, such as shelter, medical care, food and education, of a child. All this is important; however, choosing a guardian in this situation is about so much more, so there are a variety of considerations you should have before you name one for your children.

Delays during the probate process

The probate process can be challenging for a multitude of reasons. First of all, many people in Detroit and across the entire state of Michigan struggle with overwhelming emotional pain following their loved one's death. Aside from emotional concerns, there are many other issues that can arise which can hold up the probate process. For example, a bitter and lengthy dispute may interfere with the way in which an estate is handled. These disputes can sometimes lead to litigation, which can be tough for various reasons, and there are other factors that can cause significant delays.

Sometimes, people pass away and leave behind incredibly rare and valuable assets. For example, these assets can be difficult to appraise and this can lead to significant delays. As mentioned above, probate disputes are a common source of disagreement and disputes involving beneficiaries can cause the entire probate process to be drawn out much longer. Whether you are a beneficiary who believes that your rights have not been respected or you have been falsely accused of mismanaging an estate, it is pivotal to address these matters swiftly and appropriately.

Removing your former spouse from your will

Whether a marriage breaks down because of a partner’s infidelity or a married couple grows apart after many years, countless factors can lead to a divorce. As if the divorce process is not challenging enough in and of itself, there are other legal considerations that may arise in the wake of a divorce, such as those involving an estate plan. For example, it may be smart for you to take a look at your will and ensure that any necessary changes resulting from your divorce have been taken care of.

Some people assume that since they are divorced, their former spouse will not be entitled to any of the assets of their estate. However, they may be able to receive property if the will is not updated, so it is imperative to carefully examine your will and make sure that your estate will be managed according to your wishes. Going through a divorce can be difficult, and some decide to postpone estate plan revision and other key tasks once their divorce has been finalized. However, doing so can not only give you peace of mind, but it can help ensure that your property is handled correctly after you pass away.

Can caring for sick parents cause inheritance clashes?

Some Detroit adults find themselves having to care for an old, ailing parent, with the other parent having passed away. However, sometimes if an adult child is granted responsibility for the parent’s finances, that child may try to take over the parent’s finances entirely even if the parent spells out different wishes or if another sibling wants a share of what would potentially be an inheritance. Forbes explains a number of reasons why such clashes may happen.

For one thing, some adult children may not put away enough money for their retirement. So when one parent dies and the other is sickly or infirm, the adult children may receive control over their parents’ money. However, if their surviving parent requires care, the money will likely come out of their parent’s assets, which will cost the adult children a portion of their eventual inheritance. 

Should you make changes to your will?

As the season changes to warmer weather, it is a good time to reevaluate your estate plans in Michigan. Perhaps you wrote a will, but you have not made any changes to it since. There are certain circumstances that call for adding to, or changing, a will, so now is the perfect time to consider if you should make any changes.

According to The Network Journal, you should always revisit your will when you experience big life changes. Obviously, marriage presents the perfect time to make changes. Without a will your spouse will more than likely receive some of your estate, but if you want to ensure he or she receives more, you will need to add to the will. This is especially true if you are living with a serious companion but are not planning on getting married.

Should you set up a charitable trust?

If you live in Michigan and are planning your future, setting up a trust is often a smart move, but there are various types of trusts to choose from. If you are philanthropic and are looking for your own estate tax benefit, a charitable trust may be a good option.

According to Investopedia, a charitable trust is beneficial for the charity of your choice, you as the donor and your heirs. In the general sense, you donate assets to the trust and the charity will manage the funds. Throughout the course of your lifetime you receive a portion of the income made from investments, and then the charity receives the assets upon your death, unless you named beneficiaries to continue receiving payments.

Is it time to use Michigan's trust decanting act?

When a husband and wife plan the disposal of their estate, one of the major issues can concern the best way to provide for their children's future needs. With the help of their financial planning attorney, the parents agree that setting up an irrevocable trust is the best way to make sure their assets benefit their children.

The estate attorney crafts an irrevocable trust; therefore, the trust will benefit the couple's two children according to the parents' intentions. They name a trustee to provide discretionary trust funds for the best interest of each child. They split the trust equally between their son and daughter and set up outright distribution of all remaining assets when their children reach 30 years of age.

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For an appointment and consultation, call an attorney at 248-952-8783 or contact us online. Bingham Legal Group PC is a full-service estate planning and probate firm providing counsel and service to individuals and businesses in Bingham Farms, the greater metropolitan Detroit area and throughout Michigan.

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