Wills/Trusts & End of Life Decisions

Estate planning is not just for wealthy people. I often hear “I don’t have anything.” Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have children?
  • Do you have children until the age of 18?
  • Do you have a blended family?
  • Do you have a house or condominium?
  • Does that house or condominium have equity (you owe less than it’s worth)?
  • Do you have a bank account or investment accounts?
  • Do you want to have a say where your possessions go after you pass away?
  • Do you want to make end-of-life decisions?
  • Do you wish to maintain privacy over your financial affairs?

If you answered yes to any other above questions, then you need an estate plan. Estate planning is the process of making sure that your assets (house, bank accounts, investment accounts, vehicles, and tangible personal items) transfer to the person(s) that you want to receive those items. Other important goals of estate planning are to avoid probate, minimize attorney fees involved in the probate process, avoid having to pay court fees associated with probate, and minimize taxes that are paid upon death.

Any complete estate plan should contain:

  1. A Last Will & Testament
  2. A Durable Health Care Power of Attorney naming a person(s) to be responsible for medical decision-making
  3. A Durable Power of Attorney naming a person(s) responsible for asset and financial management while you are living but unable to handle your financial affairs.
  4. A Living Will or other advance directive giving instructions concerning the type of care one wishes to receive (or avoid) in the event of a terminal illness or vegetative state.

There are additional documents that are included in your estate plan prepared by our office such as Final Instructions for cremation or burial and naming a person(s) to carry out those instructions and Instructions on how to handle cases of advanced stage Dementia or Alzheimer’s.

An estate plan may also include the creation of a Trust. A Trust is a tool that is used to avoid probate. The Trust package includes all of the documents stated above, plus the Trust.

An estate plan can also include the preparation of a Lady Bird Deed. This document allows the owner of a property to keep the property in his or her name until death and then the property transfers to the individual(s) named on the deed.

No book, software program, or website can possibly account for each person’s unique situation and needs, keep up with the laws of each state, and create a personalized plan for you. Schedule an appointment today, free of charge, to meet with Stephanie to review your estate planning options.

Serving Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston and Wayne Counties

Hours: Monday – Thursday • 9am – 5pm

Evening appointments available upon request!