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Detroit Probate, Trust & Estate Administration Law Blog

Going over some benefits of special needs trusts

There are a number of options when it comes to trusts and we have discussed many of the ins and outs of trusts and other estate plans on this blog. However, everyone who sets up a trust has a unique situation and some types of plans work better than others for certain people. For example, special needs trusts can be very beneficial for certain families, but it is essential to make sure that a special needs trust is the right choice for you and your loved ones. If so, there are a number of reasons why this route may be advantageous.

For starters, if you have a loved one who is disabled, you may be able to pass down your assets without disqualifying them for government assistance that they depend on, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. Some people simply set up a will for their loved one who is disabled, which could disqualify them for these programs that they count on. Special needs trusts can also be set up to address your disabled loved one's unique needs, which can be beneficial for those who do not even depend on government benefits due to their disability.

Avoiding probate with a living trust

There are many considerations when it comes to deciding which estate plan will work best for you and those you love. Our blog has covered some of the ins and outs of revocable and irrevocable trusts, special needs trusts and other options. In this write-up, we will take a look at living trusts and some of the benefits they offer, such as avoiding probate. By avoiding the probate process altogether, there are a number of advantages that your loved ones may appreciate and this is an excellent option for many people. However, it is vital to go over the individual details of your circumstances and make sure a living trust is right for you.

For starters, when a living trust evades probate, this can be tremendously beneficial from a financial standpoint. Moreover, it can reduce stress and save precious time, as opposed to estate plans which head through the probate process. Moreover, living trusts can be very advantageous for those who are concerned about privacy. By avoiding probate, there is a much higher degree of privacy with a living trust.

Probate considerations regarding small estates

When it comes to the probate process, all sorts of questions may arise and this is true for those who set up estate plans and the loved ones of those who have passed on. For example, some people may wonder how they can avoid the probate process altogether, which may be possible if they move forward with the right kind of trust. Moreover, some may wonder if their estate will be subjected to probate because it is relatively small. On the other side, people may struggle with probate disputes following the loss of their loved one, even if the estate was relatively small.

If you have a small estate, it may still be subjected to probate, if your real estate assets and overall assets exceed a certain amount. You should review the relevant guidelines and look ahead if you expect your estate to go through the probate process. Moreover, if you are dealing with probate-related issues following the loss of a family member, such as a contentious probate dispute, it is crucial to handle them appropriately even if the estate was not very large. Many different factors can lead to a probate dispute, even if the assets in questions are not worth very much financially, such as disagreement over the way in which property was split up and items that hold sentimental value.

Accusations over the breach of fiduciary duties

If you are a trustee or personal representative who has been accused of breaching your fiduciary duties, you may be completely unsure of which steps you need to take to address the situation or worry about the outcome of the dispute. To make things more complicated, it is very possible that loved ones are involved, such as a parent, sibling or child, which can make the entire ordeal even more challenging to navigate. As a result, it is critical to know what your rights are and which course of action makes the most sense.

You may be accused of wrongdoing as a probate agent in many different ways. For example, a beneficiary may claim that you did not disburse the assets of the estate properly or they may accuse you of exerting undue influence. Although probate disputes can be extremely hard to deal with, it is critical for you to focus on how you can resolve the situation. If you are able to talk with those who believed that you breached your fiduciary duties, this could be tremendously helpful. For example, you may be able to reduce tensions in the family and help others understand the situation more clearly. With this being said, we also know that some disputes are centered around hard feelings and cannot be resolved by talking to the other party.

Handling a probate dispute with your sibling

There are many different reasons why disputes come up during the probate process, but some can be especially challenging to work through. For example, someone may find themselves in a dispute with their brother or sister for any number of reasons and these disagreements can make the loss of a loved one even more challenging for the entire family. If you are in the middle of a dispute with your sibling over an estate-related issue, it is crucial for you to do what you can to resolve the issue fairly and minimize negativity, if possible. However, you should also know your rights and stand firm if they have been violated.

You could be in charge of an estate plan as the executor but your brother or sister may be accusing you of breaching your fiduciary duties, such as claiming that you have not disbursed assets to beneficiaries appropriately. These disagreements may also arise over jealousy or bitterness, such as a sibling who believes that they should have been the executor or that a particular sibling is unfit for the position. On the other hand, you may be a beneficiary and you could be upset because you believe that the executor has failed to abide by their fiduciary duties. Moreover, probate disputes can arise between beneficiaries. For example, your sibling may be upset that certain assets were passed down to you.

High-asset divorce and estate plans

Divorce can affect a person's life in many ways, bringing stress and financial changes, for example, and this is even more true for many people who go through a high-asset divorce. Moreover, it can also affect one's estate plan, prompting the dismissal of an executor, removing a beneficiary, or finding a new person to take on the responsibilities of an executor. Our law office knows that it can be tough for people to navigate these challenges after they have recently split up with their partner, but going over all of one's options can be tremendously helpful.

Whether a person with a high net worth has significant savings, a considerable amount of real estate, expensive artwork, or many vehicles, there are a number of ways in which divorce can affect one's estate when marital property is divided. Some people do not realize how much their estate will be impacted by divorce, so it is essential to be prepared for the challenges you may encounter with respect to property division. While some of these issues may be out of your control, you do have control over your estate once you have split up with your spouse.

Will you need a patient advocate for healthcare decisions?

If the time has come for you to consider setting up your estate plan, will a patient advocate be part of that structure?

While Michigan law does not require you to have this kind of help, you may feel it is best that you have a patient advocate, a person you choose who will make competent decisions about your healthcare if you become physically or mentally unable to do so.

Minimizing estate planning stress

From setting up an estate plan for the first time to executing an estate after a loved one has passed on, there are many ways in which estates can cause stress. However, it can be especially tough for those who are creating an estate plan, whether they have decided to move ahead with a trust or with a will. Initially, some people may have difficulty trying to decide which type of estate plan will suit them and those they love best. Even once this has been established, other stressful questions may arise, such as figuring out who to name as an executor or deciding how to split up assets between beneficiaries.

As a result, those who are working through the estate planning process will benefit from reducing their stress levels. Not only can this provide a sense of calm, but it can help people make better decisions and approach estate planning with the right mindset. Sometimes, other issues may arise, such as discussing these matters with a family member, and having lower levels of stress can put people in a better position to explain their decisions or talk about these issues, from an executor’s responsibilities to decisions about the distribution of assets.

Estate planning considerations after a motorcycle crash

Life can change in a number of ways, from a couple tying the knot to ending their marriage and the loss of a loved one’s life due to cancer. Moreover, these changes can also prompt people to modify their estate plan, whether their financial state has changed significantly or they wish to change the way in which their assets will be handed down to those they love. Furthermore, motorcycle accidents can be especially dangerous and have a major impact on entire families.

If you were involved in a crash or someone close to you was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you may be struggling in multiple ways. For example, you could be going through strong emotions, physical pain or financial problems. It is essential to recover from the motorcycle accident in every way possible and this may include financially. For example, you may be awarded a significant amount of money in court due to another person’s negligence, someone who was named an executor may no longer be able to fulfill their duties due to a crash, or your financial future may have changed for the worse because you will no longer be able to work in your field—all of these hardships can prompt you to make changes to your estate plan.

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