Even if you have a small estate, estate planning allows money and property to be distributed according to your final wishes.
Your assets include any real estate you own, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, personal property, retirement accounts and bank accounts. What happens to your assets when you pass away? You may think that these items automatically stay with your family. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you die without an estate plan in place, the State of Michigan may distribute your assets according to a “statutory will” that may not reflect your intentions.
A large number of people, even those who are already retired, don’t have an estate plan. Others have documents that are out of date. The importance of an estate plan is to ensure that your family is able to enjoy the rewards of your hard work when you pass away.
In addition to an estate plan, every adult should also consider:
- Durable power of attorney. Who will handle your finances if you become incapacitated or disabled? Without a durable power of attorney, no one may be able to access your bank account or any other property in your name without a lengthy legal proceeding.
- Patient Advocate Designation. A Patient Advocate allows you to name your spouse or a trusted relative who will make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do this on your own. Without this document, your family may require an expensive probate proceeding in order to make difficult medical decisions.
Estate planning is best left to an experienced professional. If you don’t have an estate plan, make an appointment to meet with the attorneys at Longstreet Elder Law & Estate Planning, PC.