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Estate planning is an important part of ensuring you and your family's needs are attended to when you become incapacitated or when you die. You can assign people who can take care of your financial and medical needs, specify which of your assets will go to your survivors and designate a legal guardian for your children should you and your spouse pass away.
There are many tools to help you with estate planning in Michigan. Whether you live in Detroit, Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor, you have access to legal estate planning resources like wills, living trusts, advance directives and more. Using LawInfo's Michigan estate planning articles, you can learn about the legal ins and outs of securing your family's future and connect with a qualified local attorney.
You can use a living will to make your health care wishes known at a time when you are incapable of making or communicating decisions for yourself, such as after a car accident or while comatose. To create a living will, you simply need to write down your health care wishes, sign the document, have two non-family member witnesses sign it and title the document as your “Living Will.”
You can state in your living will the types of medical treatment you would prefer or prohibit. You can even inform health care providers to focus on making you comfortable in life-ending situations instead of focusing on extending your life. This shouldn't be confused with a do-not-resuscitate order, which is a separate document from a living will.
There may come a time when you'll become incapable of handling your financial affairs due to declining health or some other temporary or permanent medical condition. You can assign the durable power of attorney to a trusted agent who can take care of your affairs if and when this day comes.
The power of attorney lasts for your lifetime and dissolves upon your death or revocation. You can specify the powers you want to assign to your agent. If a decision that needs to be made is not covered or prohibited by your instructions, your agent is legally required to act in your benefit.
A Last Will and Testament is the most common estate planning document used in Michigan. You can write your final wishes for your property and financial assets in a will, as well as assign a guardian for your minor children and a personal representative who will execute your will when you die.
The types of assets you can promise to beneficiaries in your will include real and personal property that isn't already claimed by:
Most wills are subject to probate, which is when a court designates the decedent's personal representative to handle the estate, pay the final debts and taxes and execute the will. Certain types of property require probate. Probate can be a long and costly process, so you should consult with an estate planning attorney about alternatives that suit your family's needs.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified estate planning lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local estate planning attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.