Why Estate Planning Is Important
March 27, 2023
Drafting a comprehensive estate plan allows you to make adequate plans in advance and leave instructions about how your property and assets should be managed upon your death or sudden incapacitation. Whether you have a small or large estate, you can preserve your assets, make suitable provisions for your loved ones, and prepare for future uncertainties with your estate plan.
Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg has the knowledge and resources to direct clients in estate planning-related matters. As a practiced Michigan estate planning attorney, Steven can tell you about the benefits and importance of estate planning and determine the ideal option for your unique needs. The firm proudly serves clients across Bingham Farms, Monroe, Mount Clemens, Pontiac, and the metro Detroit area, Michigan.
Why Estate Planning Is Important
Estate planning can be described as the process of making suitable plans in advance, identifying your assets and potential beneficiaries, and providing instructions about how your estate and property should to managed or distributed when you're gone. Here are some benefits of estate planning:
It allows you to prepare for the uncertainties of life.
It helps preserve your assets, property, investment, and businesses.
You will have total control over who inherits your assets and property.
You can choose a trusted person as your personal representative.
It allows you to make sufficient provision for your surviving family members – including spouses, children, close relatives, and dependents.
It helps reduce or avoid potential conflicts and disputes between family members over property distribution.
It allows you to name a guardian for minor children and ensure that they are properly catered to.
It helps your heirs and beneficiaries reduce or avoid inheritance, gift, and estate taxes.
It helps protect your investments and assets from unknown creditors and frivolous lawsuits.
You can make necessary arrangements for business succession or transfer at your retirement, death, or incapacity.
It allows your estate to avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process (with a living trust).
It allows you to name who will make legal, property, and financial decisions for you when you're unavailable or unable (power of attorney).
It prevents you from dying intestate (without a will).
However, without a valid estate plan, the state's intestate succession laws will determine how to settle your final affairs or transfer assets to heirs when you're gone. A practiced lawyer can enlighten you about the legal procedures involved in drafting an estate plan and help you make informed decisions.
What Happens When Someone Dies Without an Estate Plan?
When a person dies without a valid will or estate plan in Michigan, their property will pass through probate. During probate, their estate and assets will be administered using Michigan's intestate succession laws. Therefore, when someone dies intestate, the state laws will decide how their asset and property are distributed.
Probate in Michigan
Probate is a court-supervised process that is often required when a person dies to settle their estate and final affairs. During probate, the decedent's property and assets are gathered and evaluated, taxes and debts are paid, and the remaining assets are distributed to rightful beneficiaries and heirs.
If the person died with a will, the Michigan probate court would appoint a named personal representative or executor to manage the probate proceedings and administer the estate – in accordance with the provisions of the will. In contrast, if the person died intestate, their estate will be administered using Michigan's intestate succession rules.
Michigan's Intestate Succession Rules
Michigan's intestate succession rules outline how a deceased person's assets would be settled if they died intestate. Here are some important provisions of the law:
If the decedent died with surviving children (descendants) but no spouse, the children would inherit the whole estate.
If the decedent died with a surviving spouse but no parents or descendants, the spouse will inherit the whole estate.
If the decedent died with a spouse and children they had together, the spouse would inherit the first $150,000 of the intestate property and half of the remaining estate. The descendants will inherit the remaining estate.
If the decedent died with a spouse, at least one child from the spouse, and at least one child from another relationship, the spouse would inherit the first $150,000 of the intestate property and half of the remaining estate. The descendants will inherit everything left.
If the decedent died with a spouse and at least one child from another relationship, the spouse would inherit the first $100,000 of the intestate property and half of the remaining estate. The descendants will inherit everything left.
If the decedent died with a spouse and parents, the spouse will inherit the first $150,000 of the intestate property and three-quarters of the remaining estate. The descendants will inherit everything left.
If the decedent died with surviving parents but no descendants or spouse, the parent will inherit the entire intestate property.
If the decedent died with siblings but no descendants, parents, or spouse, the siblings will inherit the entire intestate property.
If the decedent died without any surviving family member, heirs, or relatives, the state of Michigan will "escheat" all intestate property.
To ensure that you have control over who inherits your property, assets, and funds, it is imperative that you establish a well-detailed estate plan.
Who Should Have an Estate Plan?
As an adult, it is important that you have an estate plan to prepare for the uncertainties of life. Young adults, middle-aged, older adults, and seniors can create a personalized estate plan that fits their unique needs. Depending on your preference, you may establish a simple or comprehensive estate plan and update it from time to time.
Get the Detailed Guidance and Advocacy You Need
The benefits of having an estate plan can never be overemphasized. If you become unavailable or unable to voice your opinion, your surviving family members can take solace from knowing your true wishes. Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg has the diligence and knowledge to advise and guide individuals and families through the complex procedures involved in drafting estate plans.
As your lawyer, Steven can help you understand the various estate planning options available to you and decide the right choice. Also, Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg can help draft important estate planning documents such as your living trust, will, and powers of attorney. Above all, Steven can craft an effective strategy to protect your wealth, and accumulated assets, and help you achieve your estate planning goals.
Contact Steven L. Rotenberg, PLLC, today to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Attorney Steven L. Rotenberg can provide the highly-personalized legal counsel you need to make intelligent decisions when drafting your estate plan. The firm proudly serves clients across Bingham Farms, Monroe, Mount Clemens, Pontiac, and the metro Detroit area, Michigan.