There are many legal strategies involved in estate planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, durable powers of attorney, and health care documents. New clients often say that they do not have an estate plan. Most people are surprised to learn that they actually do have a plan. In the absence of legal planning otherwise, their estate will be distributed after death according to Michigan's laws of intestacy. Of course, this may not be the plan they would have chosen. A properly drafted estate plan will replace the terms of the Michigan estate plan with your own.
Every situation is different, and each unique situation presents its own estate planning challenges. We encourage you to explore these topics, beginning (below) with an overview of fundamental estate planning and some (all too common) mistakes. Then delve more deeply into specific challenges that may affect you and your family such as planning for minor children, blending families, estate planning challenges unique to women, and taking care of our beloved pets in the event that we can no longer do so ourselves. Each link leads to an easy-to-understand presentation on the topic. Feel free to use the integrated functions to print any page, bookmark it to return later, or forward a copy to your friends, family members or financial advisor.
What is estate planning? If you were to ask 10 adult Americans this question, you would likely get 10 different answers. Most erroneously think estate planning is limited to arranging for the ultimate distribution of their assets at life’s end. Due partly to this confusion and partly to procrastination, it is little wonder that six out of 10 adult Americans have no estate plan at all. Learn more about the lifetime process of Estate Planning.
When you hear the words estate planning, what images come to mind? Do you see beautiful, tanned people with incredible wealth, living in enormous mansions, riding in shiny limousines and boarding private jets? If so, then you are only partially correct. In reality, everyone has an estate worth planning. Some are just more complex than others. Here are some basic estate blunders common to princes and paupers alike.
It is an unfortunate fact of life: airplanes plummet, trains derail, ships sink and automobiles crash. What happens when a tragedy claims both parents of minor children? While every parent expects to rear their minor children to adulthood, life may throw any of us an unexpected curve ball in the form of a fatal injury or illness. Are you, and your children, prepared? Learn how to protect your children in the event of the unthinkable.
Are you re-married (or planning to re-marry) and attempting to blend families? Unfortunately, too little attention has been paid to the critical Life & Estate Planning challenges of blended families. These challenges include disinheriting your ex-spouse, protecting your own children, providing for your new spouse and minimizing your estate taxes. Learn more about the estate planning challenges of blended (or step) families.
Traditionally, women have been the nurturers in our society. Depending on how family is defined for her, a woman may care for a husband, children, pets, parents or even in-laws. While she is busy meeting the needs of others, a woman may forget to take care of her own needs ... even needs as fundamental as her own Life & Estate Planning. Learn the Life & Estate Planning steps every woman should take to protect herself (and her loved ones).
An estimated 500,000 pets are euthanized each year by shelters and veterinarians when their owners predecease them. Do any of your closest friends have feathers, fins or fur? Consider this: If something untoward were to happen to you today, what would happen to your feathered, finned or furred friends tomorrow? Learn how your estate plan can ensure the ongoing care of these beloved family members.
Your first estate planning consultation is complimentary. Some people find scheduling their initial consultation is a bit intimidating, as they wonder what documents they will need to locate and bring along. At The Law Office of Jerry Reif, we try to make the process as simple and convenient as possible. When you are ready to schedule your initial consultation, please visit our Estate Planning Consultation page for tips on how to prepare for your Estate Planning Consultation.