Our estate planning and elder law attorneys are deeply rooted in Macomb County, and we are proud to serve residents of Sterling Heights. Without question, this community offers its residents a very high quality of life. It is widely acknowledged as one of the safest large cities in the state of Michigan, it has been included on Money magazine’s list of the “Best Small Cities” in the entire United States. This is certainly high praise coming from a respected, completely objective entity that does a great deal of legitimate research.
We help our neighbors throughout Sterling Heights preserve their legacies for the benefit of their loved ones. This is a responsibility that we take very seriously, and we go the extra mile to provide comprehensive assistance. Every situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter estate plan. Your estate plan should be custom crafted to suit your needs, and we are well equipped to make the right suggestions so that you can put the optimal estate plan in place.
When we say that there are different ways to proceed, it all starts with the asset transfer method or methods that you utilize. You may think that a last will is the estate planning document that is right for most people. In actuality, a revocable living trust is a much more universally applicable option. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a multimillionaire to benefit from the utilization of this type of trust.
A lot of people think that a last will is a very simple document that facilitates quick and easy asset transfers to the heirs that are named in the will. In fact, this is not the case at all. When a will is created, an executor or personal representative is named. This is the individual that will administer the estate after the passing of the testator. The term “testator” is used in the estate planning field to describe the person stating his or her final wishes in the last will.
The executor cannot act independently and simply start distributing assets to the heirs after the passing of the testator. Under the laws of the state of Michigan, a will must be admitted to probate, and the probate court will supervise the administration of the estate. This process provides certain protections, but it is time-consuming, it is costly, and it is a public proceeding, so anyone can access probate records to find out how the assets were distributed.
When a revocable living trust is used in lieu of a last will, all of these drawbacks are avoided. With a living trust, the administrator is called the trustee, and the inheritors are the beneficiaries. The trustee has the ability to distribute assets to the beneficiary in accordance with the wishes of the grantor of the trust outside of the process of probate.
Probate avoidance is one great benefit, but there are others. If you establish a living trust, you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary while you are living, so there is no loss of control. You can change the terms in any way that you choose, and you can convey additional property into the trust after you originally establish and fund it.
You can empower a disability trustee to administer the trust if you ever become unable to make sound financial decisions, and you can also include spendthrift protections. The trustee could be directed to distribute limited assets to the beneficiary or beneficiaries over an extended period of time.
Last wills and living trusts are two widely utilized asset transfer vehicles, but there are others. As we have stated, the right course of action will depend upon the circumstances. When you engage our firm, we will certainly make the appropriate recommendations so that you can make fully informed decisions.
Nursing Home Asset Protection and Incapacity Planning
An incapacity planning component should be included in your estate plan. You can add a living will to state your wishes regarding the utilization of life-support, and you can include a durable power of attorney for health care to name an individual to make other types of medical decisions on your behalf. A durable power of attorney for financial decision-making can be another part of the plan.
Nursing home asset protection is an important piece to the puzzle. Most people will require long-term care eventually, and Medicare will not pay for a stay in a nursing home. Medicaid is the solution for most people, because this program will pay for long-term care. We can help you position your assets wisely so that you can obtain Medicaid eligibility if and when you need it.
Schedule a Consultation!
Our doors are wide open to all Sterling Heights residents. If you would like to schedule a consultation, we can be reached by phone at 586-493-7661, and you can visit our contact page to send us a message electronically.