Many people think that estate planning is only for the wealthy or those who are facing the end of life. The fact is, almost every individual and family should have an estate plan. Without a plan of your own, the State of Michigan and the IRS control how your assets are distributed after you pass away.

More importantly, a properly created estate plan allows you to control who is able to make financial and health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Otherwise, a court will decide, and it may very well choose someone you would never have wanted to make these very personal decisions for you, including medical treatment decisions regarding the care you receive at the end of your life.

If you have minor children, your estate plan will include naming the appropriate people to raise your children and to manage their money. Without a proper designation of a guardian for your children, if you can no longer raise your children due to a catastrophic accident, sudden death or disability, a court is going to make decisions about the upbringing of your children. You would never want to leave a decision about your children to chance or to a decision by a court.

If you have beneficiaries who would be unable to manage the assets left to them after your death, due to disability, incapacity, special needs or lack of financial skills, we can help you design a trust which allows you to name someone who will use the assets to provide for the care of that person, without the assets being transferred to that individual.

There are many tools and strategies we can use to accomplish these goals include:

  • A variety of Trusts, such as Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts and Special Needs Trusts
  • Wills
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Patient Advocate Designations
  • Authorizations for Release of Protected Health Information
  • Guardianship Nominations
  • Ladybird Deeds and other Transfers of Real Estate
  • Beneficiary Designations for Life Insurance and Retirement Accounts

Once you have designed your estate plan, we will work with you to keep your plan current as your life and family situation changes and as the law changes. Estate planning is a dynamic process. Your estate plan should grow and change as you do and meet the unique needs of each stage of your life.

Wenzel, Bennett and Harris P.C.

109 N. Second Avenue, Suite 200
Alpena, Michigan 49707

Phone: (989) 356-6128
Fax: (989) 356-3524
Email: contact@northernlaw.com

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