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Huron Valley Law Center, PLC
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1. Is my estate too small to plan for?

No, you need to protect what you do have and have it pass to whom you want when you want.

2. What is estate planning?

Many people believe that estate planning is simply a way to pass assets to heirs after death. While that is part of it, proper estate planning also involves preparing for the possibility of incapacity to ensure that the people you trust are empowered to manage your affairs if you cannot. A well-designed plan should include directions to carry out your wishes regarding healthcare matters, thereby authorizing someone you know and trust to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so, such as whether you want to be kept on life support or have other extraordinary measures taken to keep you alive.

3. Why is estate planning important?

If you donít make proper legal arrangements for the management of your assets and affairs after you pass away, the state of Michigan and the IRS will do so for you. And they are not concerned with making sure your assets go to the people you want, let alone minimizing taxes. This transfer process is known as probate, and in Michigan it can be very frustrating, time-consuming, stressful and unnecessarily expensive. Failing to specify your intentions can also result in family disputes over who will be appointed to manage your affairs. These battles can be very bitter and costly both financially and emotionally.

4. What is included in an "estate"?

Simply put, an estate is everything you own. This can include your home, investments, business, life insurance, employee benefits such as a 401K plan, and other property.

5. Should my minor children have a named guardian? If so, who?

Yes. You should also name at least one alternate guardian in case the primary guardian cannot serve. The choice of guardian is obviously an important decision, since it impacts how your children will be cared for. You should consider factors such as whether the prospective guardian shares your values, where they live, their financial situation and of course whether they are willing and able to take on the added responsibility if something happens to you.

6. My parent's health is declining and I need to know what to do next?

Depending on your parent's current situation there are many ways we can help. Please review the Elder Law section of our website and call our office to learn more about caring for a loved one.

7. Can't I do my own planning online?

Do it yourself estate planning can be very dangerous. While completing the forms may seem easy and straightforward, a single mistake or omission can have far reaching complications that only come to light after the person has died. With that person not here to explain his or her intentions, the heirs could end up disappointed and confused, and could end up paying much more in legal help to try to sort things out after the fact than it would have cost in the first place.

Most people think their estate planning will be simple. But the reality is, most of us discover we do need some personalized planningÖand you may not know that without the guidance and counseling of an experienced attorney. It is far better to spend a little more now and make sure your plan is created correctly than to try to save a few dollars and have things turn out badly later. You wonít be around then to straighten things out. Donít you think you owe it to those you love to do this the right way?

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Huron Valley Law Center, PLC
2850 S. Milford Road
Highland, Michigan 48357
Phone: 248.685.8743
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