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Estate Planning

Many older people have unpleasant memories of probate proceedings from several years ago when the process of time consuming and expensive with repeated required court hearings. Michigan has made the entire process much simpler and far less painful, though if beneficiaries are battling with each other, it can still be a trying and expensive process. There are steps you can take both to avoid probate and to make the process simpler as your loved ones proceed through probate after your death.

  • Wills
    Contrary to a commonly held belief, a will does not help you avoid probate. It can make the probate process easier, however. For example, the person named in the will as personal representative may be appointment without a court hearing by filing the appropriate documents. In addition, the will allows you to name who will get your assets (in the absence of a will, state law determines who gets what) and can allow you to make special provisions for young children. If you die without a trust or will and have children under the age of 18, their assets will be held by a conservator subject to court supervisions until the age of 18. However, the assets - regardless of how much - will be turned over to them once they turn 18. Many parents don't like the idea of a child that age receiving a large inheritance all at once. You can establish a trust within your will which will only take effect if your child is under a certain age at the time of your death. The trust can provide that the funds are to be used for the child and that the trustee can use the funds for a variety of purposes, i.e. child's education, buying a home, starting a business, etc. In that case, however, the decision about whether to use the funds will be in the hands of a trusted adult until the child reaches the age you have established in the trust. Even individuals with small estates can benefit from a simple will. For example, if you have minor children, you can name who you want to act as their guardian if both parents die while the child is still a minor. This obviously provides you with some control over your child's future and provides a smoother transition for the child at a time of loss.
  • Trusts
    Unlike a will, a trust can keep you out of probate, provided all of your assets have been transferred into the trust. While they are more expensive to set up, they may result in a cost savings to your beneficiaries. At Delekta & Delekta P.C. at your initial consultation, we discuss the various methods of planning with you, explain the difference in costs and help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages so you can tailor your estate plan both to your budget and to your concerns.
  • Elder Law
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
    Michigan has made it possible for individuals to not only name who will make medical decisions for them in case they cannot do so themselves (regardless of whether the inability is short term, i.e. an unexpected turn of events while you are on the operating table, or long term) but also allow you to indicate what you want in terms of life support. Every adult should have a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (also known as a patient advocate designation). In the absence of such a designation, your loved ones may be forced to seek appointment of a guardian through the probate court to consent to medical care when you are not able to do so.
  • Durable Powers of Attorney (Financial)
  • Prenuptial Agreements



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