We are located in Mount Clemens, so we can be easily reached by people that reside in St. Clair Shores, Michigan. This historic area was first settled during the early part of the 18th century by French immigrants, and it was largely a farming area for the next 200 years. Now, it is well known as one of the most desirable suburbs in the greater Detroit area. Our firm has many clients from this fine community, and we look forward to making new connections with our neighbors in St. Claire Shores as time goes on.
An asset transfer vehicle will be at the core of your estate plan, and you have options with regard to the legal device that you choose. Many people think that a last will is the best choice for individuals that are not extremely wealthy, but in fact, this is really not the case at all.
Things are not as simple as they may appear to be on the surface when a last will is utilized. After the passing of the testator, the executor or personal representative that is named in the document would be required to admit the will to probate. The executor would handle the estate administration tasks, and the probate court would provide supervision during the process.
There are some negatives that go along with the probate process that you should be aware of before you decide that a last will is the right choice for you. One of them is the fact that there are significant expenses that accumulate, including legal fees, court costs, the executor’s payment, appraisal and liquidation fees, and other incidentals. These debits are essentially coming out of the pockets of the people that are in line for inheritances.
Another drawback is the consumption of time. The people that are named in the will are forced to play a waiting game, because probate does not run its course overnight. It will take somewhere in the vicinity of eight months to a year, even if the estate is relatively simple to administer. No inheritances can be distributed while the probate process is underway.
You also have to surrender privacy if you use a will to state your final wishes. Probate records are available to the general public, so anyone that has an interest can access them and find out how you decided to distribute your resources. This information can potentially cause hard feelings among interested parties.
There is an alternative that you can take advantage of to avoid all of these pitfalls. A revocable living trust can be established and utilized as the centerpiece of your estate plan. The way that it works is you convey assets into the trust, and you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are alive and well. In the document, you name a successor trustee and successor beneficiaries. After your passing, the trustee would distribute your assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with your instructions. The probate court would have no involvement, so all of the negatives would be avoided.
When you are looking ahead toward the future, you should consider the eventualities that you may face during your twilight years. Most senior citizens are eventually going to need help with their activities of daily living, and Medicare does not pay for a stay in a nursing home or assisted living community. It can easily cost you over a hundred thousand dollars a year to reside in a nursing home, and the same period of time in an assisted living community will come with a hefty price tag as well. If you have to pay for long-term care out-of-pocket, your legacy could wind up in the coffers of a nursing home or assisted living facility.
Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to avoid this fate. Medicaid is a jointly administered federal/state government program that does pay for long-term custodial care. However, because it is a need-based program, you have to divest yourself of assets at the right time to obtain eligibility. We have a thorough understanding of nursing home asset protection strategies, and we can guide you through the process and help you protect your family’s resources.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
We are here to help if you are a St. Clair Shores resident that would like to put an estate plan in place. You can schedule a consultation right now if you give us a call at 586-493-7661.