Innovative Law Services

Wills, Trusts & Estates

 

An educational approach to help you plan for your loved ones.

Left to right: My niece, Kelly, my nephew Andrew (baby), and my son, Jayson. Circa 1998

Estate Planning is preparing for what happens next.

Estate planning is simply scheduling meetings to create legally binding documents that designate trusted individuals to act on your behalf due to disability, incapacity, and death (or possibly missing on a tropical island after a three-hour tour).

The various roles include a person to act as your personal representative (also known as executor), guardian and conservator for minor children, and agents with authority to help manage finances and medical decisions. Estate planning provides peace of mind with our educational approach to help you timely and economically resolve legal matters without trips to probate court (or limited court involvement during critical life events).

Innovative Law Services will help you evaluate the best legal options for estate planning with an initial consultation at no charge. Each family's situation is unique, and we will help customize the necessary documents to fit your specific needs. Please contact us below to schedule a meeting to learn more about Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Patient Advocate Designation, and other estate planning options.


 
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When to update your estate plan:

  • Becoming a parent or grandparent

  • Death of loved ones

  • Incapacity of your spouse or loved ones

  • Recently came into good fortune

  • Purchased new real estate in Michigan

  • A foreseeable need to move to a nursing home

  • Your children have grown up

  • Regular revisions to accommodate life changes and law updates

  • When you have a desired change

  • Cottage law planning for vacation home

  • Change of marital status

  • Family relationship changes

  • Pet trust planning

  • Checking off your bucket list (i.e. swimming with the sharks or skydiving)

  • Asset protection (no matter how big or small)

  • Designating the ages and conditions for family to inherit funds (i.e. must earn degree)

  • New business succession planning



Estate Planning Documents & Terms:

Power of Attorney. Power of attorney documents authorize a trusted person to act on your behalf to help manage your finances and other daily responsibilities. A person designated as your agent for the power of attorney role is also known as your attorney-in-fact. A power of attorney may include limited duties such as selling property or an extensive broad list of powers to manage all areas when you need it most such as illness, travel or incapacity. It may be effective upon execution (once signed) or a springing power of attorney (after determined to be incapacitated by one or more physicians. The power of attorney documents must be signed while of sound mind. A durable power of attorney may eliminate the need for a court-appointed conservator to manage financial affairs due to incapacity. A power of attorney is not filed with the court and terminates upon death.

Patient Advocate Designation. A Patient Advocate Designation provides authority for a trusted friend or family member to make medical decisions on behalf of another person due to incapacity, injury, or mental disability. It is also known as a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or an Advanced Directive. It is helpful to select a person that will respect your wishes and make difficult decisions even if different from personal opinions or the opinion of family members.

Personal Representative. A personal representative is typically named in a will to help settle an estate that requires probate court. This role was previously known as an executor. The extensive duties include collecting and securing assets, managing property, preparing an inventory, paying debts, determining creditors, attending court hearings, filing taxes, settling claims, selling assets, distributing property and funds to beneficiaries.

Will & Last Testament. A will is a document that must be submitted to the probate court by law, see MCL 700.2516. The Will provides a set of instructions that must be approved by the probate court. In comparison, a Trust Agreement is a private document that is not filed with the probate court unless an interested person files a case (i.e. disputing terms of the trust).

Trust & Trustee. A trust is a legal agreement to privately transfer assets to beneficiaries and avoids or minimize the probate court process. A trust agreement may be beneficial when you have minor children, prefer a long term arrangement with asset protection from creditors, or prefer to customize how funds are distributed to various beneficiaries. The person that creates the trust is known as the settlor, initial trustee, and grantor. After the initial trustee's disability or death, a successor trustee takes over to manage the trust agreement provisions. It may be helpful to select the same person as power of attorney and successor trustee to transfer the role during lifetime to after death.

Requirements and Recommendations for Choosing a Patient Advocate:

  • A family member or friend (must be over 18 years old)

  • Understands your preferences and willing to make difficult decisions

  • Resides close to you (or lives in same state)

  • Able to question medical decisions with doctors, nurses and social workers

  • Advocates for best treatment options, medications, and tests

Other helpful estate planning documents:

  • Funeral Representative Designation

  • Durable Power of Attorney Delegating Parental Authority

  • Business Succession Planning

  • Cottage Law & Cabin Operating Agreements

  • Managing Health Care Choices

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Authorization (HIPAA)

  • Ladybird Deeds or Life Estate Deeds - great tool for transferring real estate after death while maintaining control of the property during life

  • Property Transfer Affidavits

  • Trust Agreements

  • Certificate of Trust

  • Distribution of Tangible Personal Property

  • Pour-over Wills

  • Power of Appointment

  • Revocation Forms

  • Authorization for Anatomical Gift

  • Acceptance of Agent Designation

  • Transfer on Death Designation

  • Final Wishes

 

Let's Chat.

Please use the form below to contact us for more information or please call 248-587-7888 to schedule a consultation.

For payment methods, we accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express along with check and cash.

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