Although estate planning may on the surface seem to be about money and assets, for many there is one thing behind the dollar signs and property values: family harmony. Done correctly, an estate plan can help to prevent conflict, comfort those who have lost a loved one, and make for a smoother estate administration process. To maximize the family harmony an estate plan can bring, Michigan planners should consider the following aspects of their will.
A fair estate plan looks different for different families. For many, the best solution is to simply split inheritance among the next of kin. Others may want to distribute assets with other factors in mind, for example, leaving more to children who have acted as caregivers. In any case, considering the true value of assets (after tax) is important in developing an equitable will.
Ease and cost of administration
Without proper planning, probate can be unnecessarily lengthy and expensive. Make sure all account designations are correct, no discrepancies exist between documents, and trusts are utilized effectively. This will help the administration go as smoothly as possible.
For some planners, gifting part of their estate before death is a meaningful gesture. There are many benefits to this, including saving on taxes and having the joy of seeing loved ones enjoy their inheritance. However, it is a good idea to only gift what is truly excess so retirement plans are not compromised, and consider the fate of assets in case of divorce or bankruptcy.
People spend a great deal of time and energy caring for their families throughout their lives. Estate plans are a great tool to maintain that harmony, and to give a final gift of peace of mind to loved ones after passing on. When considering the above issues or any other, it can be very helpful to include a Michigan estate planning attorney who can clarify the risks, benefits, and legal steps needed.