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Estate Planning for Adults

As we have been emphasizing for Estate Planning Awareness Week, estate plans can benefit everyone. For adults who either are just starting their professional career to those who haven’t yet reached retirement, having a plan in place can offer various protections and can help give you peace of mind.

For those just starting to build their nest eggs, a plan can still provide crucial elements, even if you think you don’t have “enough” assets to plan for yet. For instance, having a living trust can keep you in control of the assets you do have, ensure they are protected and make sure they are passed according to your wishes.  A personalized living trust gives you the ability to proactively protect yourself and your loved ones if you were to become disabled. It can also be set up to give the most options for any potential changes in tax regulations. Additionally, a major advantage to a trust is, if properly funded, it lets you avoid the costly, time-consuming, frustrating probate process.  A personalized trust also lets you name how your beneficiaries inherit; but this can be updated as you age and need to make adjustments.

Major life events can create the need to make changes. Such life events as marriages, births, or divorces among other things. For marriages, you may want to create or update your plan to include your new spouse. While for divorces you may want to exclude your ex-spouse or outlaws from your plan and ensure they do not inherit. If you’re a new parent, you may want your plan to reflect that and offer protections for your children. While they are still minors, naming guardians can be critical so the people you trust are taking care of your children. Furthermore, you can include instructions for future guardians to ensure your children are raised in the manner you would like. Also, while they are still minors your living trust should be set up in a way that protects them. There should be guidelines included so they are not just given a sum of money at an age where they aren’t able to handle it and provisions in place that protect them from potential creditors.

Other elements of an estate plan can be useful at this age. Through powers of attorney, you are able to name people you trust to be in charge of your financial, legal, and medical decisions if you are not able to make them yourself. And proactively planning can offer you more control in terms of healthcare by giving you the opportunity to fill out Advanced Directives. These allow you to dictate what types of treatment and care you would like to receive while in various medical scenarios. This way your loved ones who are making medical decisions for you can have peace of mind they are making the right decisions for you and following your wishes.

While you may not think it’s time to create an estate plan at this age, by failing to plan you are still “creating” a plan in a sense. Your estate would have to be probated and this could mean individuals you don’t want to benefit, inherit under Michigan law. It doesn’t provide nearly the same number of protections for your loved ones, including any minor children. And it can lead to discourse among the family when they do not know what you would have wanted. To learn more about how you can protect yourself and your loved ones, we offer complimentary initial consultations. Contact our office to schedule your meeting with our estate planning professionals at (248) 409-0256.