Tips for Creating Your First Estate Plan

Longstreet Elder Law & Estate Planning, PC assists clients who are in various phases of life to create their first estate plan. Some of our clients are singles in their 20s or 30s or parents of young children. However, some of our clients are closer to middle age or retirement age. The important thing to remember is that you should have an estate plan regardless of your age or other factors in your life.

If you do not have an estate plan, we encourage you to contact our office to discuss why you need a comprehensive estate plan. We can help you create an estate plan that protects you, your property, and your heirs.

Simple Steps You Can Take to Create an Estate Plan

We understand that you are busy and may not have a lot of time to devote to estate planning at this time. However, there are some simple steps that we advise you take now to protect yourself and those you love in the event of your death or incapacitation.

  • Create a Will

Everyone needs a will. If you do not have a will, the State of Michigan decides how to distribute your property and who can receive your property. In addition to ensuring your wishes are carried out upon your death, creating a will makes probating your estate easier for your heirs. Our attorneys can help you create a simple but effective will that accomplishes your goals for estate planning.

  • Sign a Durable General Power of Attorney

If you are unable to make financial decisions, you want to ensure that a trusted person has authority to act on your behalf. A Durable General Power of Attorney allows you to appoint an agent to handle your financial affairs. If you do not have a power of attorney in place, a family member or other interested person would need to petition the court to be appointed as your guardian to manage your financial affairs. A power of attorney avoids court intervention and allows you to choose the person you believe would manage your financial affairs for your best interests.

  • Sign a Medical Directive and Living Will

You also need to sign a Medical Directive and Living Will to ensure that a trusted person makes sensitive medical decisions and end-of-life decisions for you if you become incapacitated. As with your financial affairs, you want to control who makes decisions regarding your health care. If you do not have the legal documents in place appointing someone to act on your behalf before you become incapacitated, the state will appoint someone to make health care decisions for you.

Getting Organized to Create an Estate Plan

Each person is different; therefore, your estate plan will be unique. In addition to the above documents, you may want to consider trust agreements and other estate planning tools. However, it can be difficult to create a comprehensive estate plan.

When you prepare to meet with our office, it can help to gather information regarding your assets and financial affairs. For example, bank statements, life insurance policies, financial account statements, deeds, and titles. We assist you during each step in the process of creating your estate plan to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible.

It is never too soon or too late to create your first estate plan. The attorneys of Longstreet Elder Law & Estate Planning, P.C. can provide more information about the process and the legal steps you should take to protect yourself and your heirs.