Common Estate Planning Pitfalls in MichiganEstate planning is not something most people are eager to talk about. However, it’s a crucial part of your financial planning, and simply making responsible life decisions in general for the sake of your family and financial legacy. Estate planning is a complex undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. It is advised to work with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure your wishes are carried out effectively and efficiently. Here are some common estate planning pitfalls that an attorney can help you avoid.

  • Naming the wrong personal representative or trustee.

A personal representative is the person who controls the assets during the probate process until they are distributed to the named beneficiaries; the personal representative is appointed in the will. Personal representatives also collect all the assets, pay debts, pay expenses, and file any estate tax returns. A trustee controls a trust’s assets; generally this is for a finite period, but in some cases the trustee may continue in that role until the depletion or termination of the trust. If your estate plan is outdated, it might be naming personal representatives or trustees who are no longer suited for these positions. They might be too elderly or ill, or even deceased to serve in these roles. Children or other family members who were too young to serve when a trust or will was created might be old enough now and a more appropriate choice.

  • The beneficiaries have grown up.

Many trusts are created when the beneficiaries are still minors, and distributions and other provisions are drafted with that in mind. If your estate planning is outdated, your trust or will may need to be altered to account for the change in status of the beneficiaries.

  • Additional wealth accumulation has added complexity to the estate.

If you have grown significantly more wealthy since the creation of your trust or will, your estate planning may have become obsolete. You would be well-advised to go through a new estate planning process with an estate planning attorney to account for the accumulation of assets.

  • Changes in the law.

Laws relating to estate planning, taxes, asset protection for nursing home or other long-term care situations are constantly changing.  We like to do an “estate planning check-up” every year to make sure that your plan works the way you need it to work for you and your family.

Glenn Matecun proudly serves the citizens of Michigan in the areas of elder law, estate planning, and special needs law. Visit our website to learn more and schedule a consultation.

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