Loving one’s family can often mean having to do things that are not always pleasant or fun. For some, creating an estate plan may feel like an obligation to their loved ones rather than something they feel could be useful in general. However, estate planning can have benefits for all parties associated with the plan, and even if it feels like an obligation at first, many Michigan residents may find themselves understanding the importance of their plan as they go through the process.
Often, individuals delay creating an estate plan because they do not know where to start. Typically, just taking steps to get the ball rolling could inspire parties to do more planning. As a result, it may be helpful to start with naming beneficiaries to payable-on-death accounts, like retirement plans, savings accounts, life insurance policies and more. This can typically be completed without having to go through extensive steps because many financial institutions allow account holders to name beneficiaries by using forms available from the institution.
Other steps to take that can help make a comprehensive plan include:
- Creating a basic will that names an executor, guardian for any minor children and broad terms for distributing assets
- Making a living will, or advance heath care directive, for medical providers to use in the event that the person cannot make medical decisions for him or herself due to incapacitation
- Taking out a life insurance policy
- Choosing whether to use a trust in order to have more control over the distribution of assets
In most cases, having some type of estate plan, even if it is just a will, in place can make a considerable difference in how easy it is for loved ones to complete probate for a Michigan estate. When individuals do not leave any type of instructions behind, family members are often left trying to guess who should get what, what might be considered fair, what their loved one would have wanted and much more. Estate planning could help streamline the process and take out much of the guesswork.