Michigan estate planning is integral to your overall financial plan, and some fundamental considerations can help lay the groundwork for a strong estate plan.
Estate planning protects your assets and distributes them according to your wishes, providing peace of mind. Once you address the following fundamentals, you can tailor your estate planning to accommodate any other needs and desires you have.
Protect your assets
Estate plans strive to maximize the amount your beneficiaries receive while giving up less money to the tax man or probate. An estate plan can also ensure the prompt distribution of your assets to heirs.
For tax planning purposes, you can set up certain trusts, make annual monetary gifts while you are alive and use other strategies to minimize the amount your heirs will need to pay in taxes once you are gone.
Certain types of trusts can also protect your money from lawsuits and creditors so that your beneficiaries receive the full amounts intended for them.
Designate your beneficiaries
Choosing your beneficiaries is an essential component of your estate planning and you can name them in your will. However, certain financial instruments, such as life insurance, IRAs and other retirement accounts, also require you to name beneficiaries.
Naming beneficiaries in more than one place can become an issue if you go through a life change, such as divorce and forget to remove unintended beneficiaries from some of your retirement assets.
Review and update your beneficiaries on all financial assets and accounts periodically. This safeguard ensures that your estate gets distributed according to your wishes.
Plan for incapacity
If you become incapacitated, it makes sense to give someone you trust the power to act on your behalf. When you draw up your will, you will need to name an executor to handle the distribution of your assets.
Many people also grant a Power of Attorney. By executing a Power of Attorney (POA) document, you can give someone control over all your affairs or designate specific people to have POA strictly for healthcare, financial or legal matters.
Plan your legacy
Many people want to give gifts to charity to leave a legacy that lasts for future generations. Consider a charitable trust or similar vehicle that can help you make gifts with the most meaningful impact on causes you cherish while also receiving tax benefits for your estate.
By setting up a comprehensive estate plan, you can ensure that your assets remain protected, managed and distributed as you intended for your loved ones.