Having an estate plan is so important because anything can happen, but exactly how do you go about preparing an estate plan? Well, it’s not all that different than getting ready for a vacation. When you’re planning for a vacation, you  make sure you have all your essentials packed. Your clothes, your toiletries, your electronics and any medicine you take. When it comes to creating an estate plan, you need to think about essentials as well. For example, you will want to have a Will written out which carefully details your nominated personal representative and directions of passing on your property.  Perhaps your estate is complicated and you may benefit from a trust in addition to your will.  And what about those essential documents while you’re still living?  A Power of Attorney may also be something worth having prepared.These are just some of the essentials of an estate plan. Of course, you might not know what these are, so we’ll go over each one with you.

A Will is a document that nominates a Personal Representative to handle your estate and directs the probate court how you want your estate distributed. Without a will, your estate, including your Personal Representative and assets are determined by each states’ statutes. Each State has different statutes, so how the assets in the estate would be distributed is not the same across State borders.  This can all be avoided with a carefully drafted will.  A Trust is a document that can do many different things.  Properly funded, a trust holds assets for the benefit of a certain individual or group of people. The Trust is managed by a Trustee, which can be the grantor of the trust or another nominated individual or even corporation.  The trustee oversees the trust and it’s assets for the benefit of the named beneficiaries. Of course, there are many kinds of Trusts. There’s  Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts and Special Needs Trusts, just to name a few. Each have different purposes and knowing which one you would actually need can be difficult. A Power of Attorney allows you to confer legal powers to a specific individual. This is done as a safeguard to make sure someone can act in the event the individual is incapacitated or unable to autonomously make decisions. These are just some of your estate planning documents.

Let’s put it this way: planning an estate is much like planning a vacation. It requires careful thinking and needs to take everything into account; however, unlike vacation planning, estate planning is difficult to correctly accomplish without legal assistance. For 25 years, The Probate Pro has been assisting individuals throughout the State of Michigan with estate planning. We can provide estate planning services related to everything we’ve talked about and would be glad to help you prepare yourself and your family. If you need estate planning services, reach out to us at 877-YOUR-FIRM, and our team will gladly work alongside with you.