Your estate plan should be as customized as your wardrobe is. It needs to fit your unique needs and cater to your personal values. While generic documents can work for just about anyone, they won’t protect you as well as something you customize for your specific needs.
The right tools and solutions are completely different from family to family. What worked for your sibling or your parents may not work for you. Still, there are certain tools that are useful for almost every single testator creating a Michigan estate plan.
What are the basic documents that most people should have?
A will or trust
A will is the simplest estate planning document that allows you to designate recipients for your assets and to name a guardian for your underage children. Some people will use a trust to arrange for the descent of their property when they don’t have minor children or when they have complex personal holdings.
Some families will use a combination of these two different documents to achieve optimal protection for dependent family members while also reducing tax risks and other financial concerns.
An advance directive
How much do your loved ones really know about your medical preferences? Do you expect that they will remember the details of your conversations in an emergency?
Most people will benefit from the creation of an advanced directive that explains if they want to make an anatomical gift, how they feel about opioid-based pain management and what degree of life support they would prefer to receive in an emergency.
Powers of attorney
Creating an advanced directive won’t do much good if you don’t designate someone to access your medical records and assume authority over your medical decisions. Financial power of attorney can also be helpful, especially if you do not have a spouse with the authority to access your bank accounts or talk with your doctor about your care.
Exactly what terms you include in these documents, which people you designate to hold authority or receive property and what restrictions you place on the estate administration process, will all differ significantly depending on your wishes and your relationships.
Learning more about the basic estate planning tools in Michigan can help you choose the right documents for your personal needs.