Every day, Michiganders enter the Michigan probate process. The outcome depends upon whether an estate plan was put in place.
How probate can cause problems with heirlooms
Probate is a legal process that an estate enters after a person’s death. When there is no will and testament, much of this process can end up being decided by a judge referencing Michigan laws and legal precedent. When that happens, the results can end up surprising you. People you did not expect to receive heirlooms may end up with them. This can cause conflict. In other extreme cases, the heirlooms may end up being sold to recoup their monetary value. There’s a lot that can go wrong.
Protecting your heirlooms from probate
Due to the issues that can occur, you should take steps to ensure your will is adhered to after your death. There are different estate planning strategies you can employ. These include:
- Outlining who gets what heirloom in a legally valid last will and testament
- Passing on the heirlooms while you’re still alive
- Placing your heirlooms into a revocable trust
The probate court will always give preference to what is outlined in a legally valid will.
Giving away your heirlooms while you’re still alive can be a solid plan for avoiding most of the problems with probate. Since Michigan does not have a gift tax, this should not be a problem. Also keep in mind there is no state inheritance tax in Michigan, and there are no inheritance taxes at the federal level for most people either.
Lastly, a trust can be an excellent way to protect heirlooms or assets. This is a good idea if you want to give out the heirlooms to heirs after they are mature enough to care for them instead of immediately after your death.
Overall, estate planning is essential. If you don’t plan ahead, it can cause serious problems for your heirs. Don’t take that chance if you don’t have to.