Estate Planning Attorney In Southeast Michigan

There are many benefits in establishing an estate plan. These benefits include: avoiding issues in probate court, ensuring your final wishes are legally documented, and much more. An experienced estate planning attorney can help set up a plan that’s aligned with someone’s final wishes and is unique to their individual situation.

Sean J Nichols, PLLC has years of experience in working with estate plans of varying complexity. We handle the most basic, to the most complex estate plans. Our goal is to make this process as straightforward and efficient as possible while covering individual needs.

How An Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help

Estate planning is unique to each individual’s situation. Some plans are fairly straightforward and simply involve drafting a will for your family. Other situations may dictate more comprehensive planning such as establishing a trust to provide for a child with special needs, business successions, charitable entities, etc.

Below is a list of issues related to estate planning that our law firm can assist with.

Wills – Drafting a will is an essential component that dictates what happens to someone’s property after they pass away. These documents help in minimizing or avoiding probate in Michigan. The most common type of will is known as the Last Will and Testament; this takes effect immediately after someone passes away. There are several other types of wills as well as other legal matters pertaining to this document that our law firm handles.

Trusts – In contrast from a will, trusts takes effect as soon as they’re created. There are many aspects involved with trusts; however, the main purpose is generally to provide funding to a loved one throughout the course of their life, hence the name “trust fund.” the law firm of Sean J Nichols, PLLC provides comprehensive legal guidance to trustees, as well as beneficiaries named within the document.

Estate and Inheritance Taxes – Although Michigan technically does not collect estate or inheritance taxes, there are cases where individuals may be required to pay certain taxes after receiving assets. For instance, very large estates may have a federal estate tax associated with them. In other cases, someone may receive a tax bill from another state if the deceased individual legally resides outside of Michigan. Sean J Nichols provides comprehensive legal guidance on issues involving estate taxation.

Asset Protection – With your estate plan you can tell your family and the law how you want your property to be divided. If you do not declare the method in which your property is supposed to be divided, the court simply passes on the property to your closest relatives, spouse, and children respectively. This can lead to a number of conflicts arising amongst your family, especially if you have been married more than once or if you are divorced. We help to ensure assets are properly protected and divided after one’s passing or in the event of incapacity.

Power of Attorney – When someone can’t make decisions for themselves due to illness or disease, this document allows someone to make decisions on their behalf. It’s important to have an experienced attorney draft or review this document to ensure preparation for emergency situations.

Medicaid Planning – Medicaid is a mostly federally-funded program administered by the state which pays for the cost of a nursing home after certain criteria are met. Proper elder medicaid planning involves both elder law and estate planning. Initially, Medicare pays for skilled nursing care for the first few months. Sadly, some folks must enter a nursing home for extended care and this situation becomes extremely expensive. We help families and their loved ones obtain affordable nursing home medicaid.

Guardianship – Simply put, when someone is appointed as a legal guardian over another individual, this means they are in charge of making decisions on their behalf. Guardianship is not always straightforward. guardianship over minors or individuals with special needs involving government benefits have specific legal requirements.

Conservatorships – Similar to guardianship, conservatorship involves appointing a responsible individual to care for another person. Conservatorships are most commonly appointed in cases where someone is mentally ill, suicidal, incapacitated, and other urgent circumstances. It may be necessary to establish a conservatorship over an elder’s estate when proper estate planning documents have not been established.

Special Needs Trusts – Special Needs Trusts are a specialized type of trust fund that provides funding and assets to a child with special needs or disabled adult while still receiving government benefits such as disability. This is a specialized document that requires guidance from an experienced attorney.

Business Succession Planning – Establishing a business succession plans allow for someone to transfer ownership of a legal entity (business) to another individual after retirement. Estate planning is an especially important aspect for business owners and entrepreneurs to ensure their business is protected should they become unable to manage it.

When Should You Set Up An Estate Plan?

Open estate planning textbook on a table with the page titled willsEstate planning is recommended for everyone once they hit the age of eighteen, Many people put off estate planning because they find it unpleasant to face the inevitable, or face the possibility of a tragic event occurring. This is understandable, it is human nature to put off planning for the undesirable; however, as humans, we are neither immortal nor invincible; thus, estate planning is necessary for everyone.

With that said, it’s important to note, that there are a number of aspects which require a more detailed, comprehensive estate plan. For instance, If you are the sole provider for an elderly parent, or a child with special needs, you’ll want to ensure there are special provisions in your plan. Furthermore, If you’re a business owner it is also important to create a detailed estate plan with an attorney to allow for an orderly continuation or curtailment of the business.

In general, estate plans are vital to avoid confusion and issues in court. If someone passes without a will/trust, someone will have to files a petition with the probate court to have the decedent’s’ estate opened. The court will then go through the process to have a personal representative appointed. Probate in Michigan is a complex process, it’s important to consult with an experienced probate attorney if this occurs.
Proper estate planning is unique to each individual’s situation. Often times, this involves providing care for minors, children, elderly relatives/parents, and more. Having a solid estate plan in place and keeping it updated is very important. This is important because It takes a lot of time and money to fix issues created from non-existent/poorly documented plan. In fact, when someone passes without an estate plan or with a poorly crafted one, the court may declare their estate “intestate.”

Essentially, this means that the court now has complete control over the property of the deceased. Once property is declared “intestate,” the process of obtaining it can be extremely time-consuming and expensive. This involves a lengthy court process to determine details of asset division and inheritance.

All of this can be avoided by meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney and ensuring proper documentation is in place. This documentation will help you and your family avoid probate issues and ensure your wishes are properly communicated to the court. Therefore, working with an experienced attorney is vital to avoid issues in probate court after an individual passes away.

Sean Nichols is experienced with many aspects of estate planning which help clients avoid legal hassles and plan an overall comfortable future. Our Law Firm has the experience and dedication to provide a custom estate plan that suits your individual needs.

Estate Planning Attorney In Plymouth MI

There are many misunderstood concepts surrounding estate planning. For example, many believe that estate planning is only relevant for extremely wealthy or elderly individuals. Simply put, this is not true. Estate planning involves setting up a plan that details someone’s personal wishes should they pass away or lose the ability to make decisions.

An estate plan includes more than wills and trusts, it also relies on careful and professional advice that is personalized to your condition. Estate planning is one of the most important steps a person can take to make sure that their final property and health care wishes are honored.

Sean J Nichols PLLC is located in Plymouth, MI. we commonly work with clients in Livonia, Romulus, Garden City, Northville, Canton, and many other cities within Southeast Michigan. Our role is to use our knowledge, expertise and experience to craft the right plan for you. If you or someone you know needs help with an estate plan, talk to an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney today. (734) 386-0224

For general information, feel free to visit our FAQ page on estate planning.