Michigan Estate Planning Checklist | A Step-by-Step Guide
Estate Planning Checklist for Michigan Residents: Plan Your Future
When it comes to starting your Michigan Estate Planning, there’s no better time than the present. Everyone, no matter their age or financial status, needs to plan for the future. Obviously, there is no guarantee what tomorrow may hold, but everyone is eventually going to die. Estate Planning ensures your family knows how to honor your wishes and properly divide your estate.
Ready to get started? It only takes a few steps to prepare for the future …
Follow this easy step-by-step Estate Planning checklist for Michigan:
- Take Inventory of Your Assets and Liabilities
What are your assets? Too many people mistakenly believe they don’t own enough to create a Will. But once you look around, you will realize how many valuables you actually have. Take inventory of all your tangible and intangible assets.
While you can pass on anything to your heirs, here are the main assets Dingeman & Dancer, PLC, recommends you include:
- Real estate investments, including all homes and land you own
- Personal and recreational vehicles
- Collectibles, art and antiques
- Checking and savings accounts
- Certificates of deposit
- Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
- Life insurance policies
- 401(k)s, IRAs or other retirement accounts
- Health savings accounts
- Business ownerships
As you take inventory, be sure to include a value estimate for each asset. Professional appraisals can help determine values.
And remember—not every asset needs to be worth a lot of money to include it. Sometimes an asset’s sentimental value is worth more than its monetary value.
Your heirs also need to know how to handle any outstanding debt you have, so list any liability you may have in your estate. Include specific instructions on how to pay off that debt. Michigan law requires any unsecured debt – such as credit cards, medical expenses, and utility bills – be paid from the estate.
- Protect Your Assets From Uncertainty
The purpose of estate planning is for you to have a say in how your Estate is distributed. This power you are taking for yourself also serves to protect your family from squabbles and to help ensure their financial stability in your absence. Making an Estate Plan also helps your family manage your Estate properly and gives you peace of mind going forward.
Be sure to check these items off your estate planning to-do list:
- Buy enough life insurance.
- Consider funding for your children’s care and education.
- Determine who will manage your affairs if you become incapacitated.
- Name an Executor for your Estate and list all Beneficiaries.
- Decide who will inherit which assets.
- Discuss estate plans with your loved ones.
If you have minor children, you also need to determine who becomes their legal guardian in the event you die unexpectedly. This is a more involved process that requires careful thought and consideration.
- Get Your Affairs in Order
Now it’s time to meet with an estate attorney to draft your Will. A Will is a legally binding document that states how to divide your assets. It lifts the burden off your loved ones’ shoulders.
Unfortunately, 60 percent of adults don’t have a Will. And yes, even young adults should write a Will—especially if they have children.
In addition to a Will, your estate planning attorney will file important documents on your behalf, including any Directives. Directives guide your heirs through how you want to make financial and health care decisions. Filling out an Estate-Planning questionnaire can help determine all Directives for your situation.
Every Estate requires different legal tools. An attorney can help you decide which Directives are most crucial for your needs. Getting your affairs in order now will guarantee your loved ones know how to follow your final wishes.
- Review and Update Regularly
After planning your Estate, you will want to regularly review your final wishes. Life changes may necessitate edits to your Will. For example, you may wish to change your Beneficiaries after a divorce. If you have more kids, you may want to list new guardians. Even new tax laws may prompt you to update your Will. Let your attorney know of any life changes as they occur to ensure your Will stays up to date.
Thinking about the future will ensure an easier transition for your loved ones. But dealing with the legal paperwork on your own may feel overwhelming. Looking for someone to help plan your Estate? Let Dingeman & Dancer, PLC take the guesswork out of estate planning. Your Michigan Estate lawyers at Dingeman & Dancer have over 30 years of experience. You can count on our attorneys to provide professional, personalized service. From drafting a Will to finalizing a financial Power of Attorney, we handle every aspect of your estate planning. When you call us, you get us. Call 231-929-0500 or submit an inquiry online to care