An unexpected death in a Michigan family can leave survivors in a precarious situation when an estate plan is incomplete or out of date. Family situations can change with time, which means it is vital for people to evaluate their estate plans at least annually. This is especially true for wealthy individuals, but also applies to all families because it can include disposition of child guardianship and other legal issues that could be affected by an untimely death.
One major element of any estate plan for those with significant financial assets is property distribution. Without one, an inheritance will be determined by state intestacy laws. Avoiding probate entirely is actually a goal of many people in their estate planning, and a comprehensive plan can easily avoid the process as much as possible when structured properly. In fact, many people will choose to transfer property to designated inheritors or establish a trust well before passing.
Eliminates confusion when death occurs
One of the most tenuous situations in a family following a death is the distribution of property when a decedent does not have a spouse who assumes their assets or have an estate plan in place. And even then, ownership of assets can be contested. Family members who are in line for an inheritance can claim undue influence against other siblings or potential family members who have inherited questionable assets. A thorough estate plan crafted with all potential stakeholders present is often the best method of keeping the family at ease both prior to and during a difficult time.
One of the most common scenarios following the death of a loved one, and a parent in particular, is disagreement regarding who inherits specific property of the decedent. Having a document in place that is established while the owner is still of sound mind is typically the best action.