You might have seen a scene on television or in a movie where the main character in a dire situation writes out his last will and testament on the only scrap of paper available, then signs it before either perishing or being rescued. Dramatic, certainly, but would such a document hold up in a Michigan court? What if, instead of having a will formally drawn up, you decide to write it out on paper and sign it? Would your wishes be contested or honored if it is your own signature on the paper?
Recently in this blog, we discussed appointing a guardianship or conservatorship over a loved one who is mentally or physically compromised. These legal procedures are often decided by the court after the person's incapacitation. There is also a way that you can voluntarily appoint another person to handle your affairs if you are concerned about becoming unable to make your own decisions in the future. This is known as appointing a power of attorney, and is an option that is often taken by elderly people in Detroit and elsewhere.
As you wrap up another summer of memories at the family cottage, you may be thinking about whether the next generation of your family will keep up your tradition of summer weekends in your special spot.
Naming a guardian to care for your children if something should happen to you can seem like an unpleasant and morbid task. However, if you have minor children, considering guardianship in the event of your untimely death is just as important, if not more so, as naming the beneficiaries of your estate. It may also give you and other Detroit residents peace of mind if you have the details of guardianship worked out in your will or trust plan.
Like many people in Detroit and across the country, you might have married someone who is not a United States citizen. Understandably, you would want to make sure your spouse is taken care of if you are the one to pass away first. How does estate planning apply to non-citizens?
When you think about your estate planning, you might focus your attention on how you are going to provide for your loved ones after you are gone. What about while you are still alive, though? How can you and other Detroit residents take care of your needs if something were to incapacitate you?
One of the most important aspects of your estate planning is to decide how much money to leave your beneficiaries, as well as how to divide the personal belongings you leave behind. Like many Detroit residents, you might wonder if it is acceptable to leave a greater amount to some of your loved ones than you bequeath to others.
While you are planning what to do with your assets after you are gone, it is understandable that you might wish to give gifts to your loved ones while you are alive so you can enjoy seeing them happy. You might also be concerned about leaving your heirs with a tax burden after your death if you have a sizeable estate. At the Bingham Legal Group PC, we are prepared to answer the questions of Detroit residents who want to know about estate tax and gift tax. Is there a way you can award your family members monetary gifts from your estate while you are alive, tax-free?
In last week’s post, we talked about the possibility of inheriting your parents’ debt. While you should not be responsible for anything your parents still owed when they died unless you co-signed on their loan, this does not necessarily stop debt collectors from harassing you. Is there anything that Detroit residents can do to stop unfair or unlawful contact by creditors to collect on a debt that you do not owe?
A divorce can be a highly contentious time, both legally and emotionally. In the rush to secure short-term benefits, spouses often take serious missteps with regard to their long-term estate planning. These oversights can cost them life insurance benefits, cause them to incur large estate tax penalties, require new insurance policies and even result in unintentionally disinheriting their own children. Here are four pitfalls in estate planning than can happen to a spouse during or after divorce if not careful.