Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning in Michigan
A good estate planning attorney understands that an estate plan is unique to each individual’s situation. Some plans are fairly straightforward such as drafting a will while others dictate more comprehensive planning (i.e. special needs trusts, tax planning, issues with inheritance, etc).
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.
Learn more about specific estate planning issues our law firm routinely handles below or contact us for a confidential consultation today.
Wills and Trusts
There are many benefits in establishing a will or trust. 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 trust or draft a will that’s aligned with someone’s final wishes and is unique to their individual situation.
Here’s a brief overview on the difference between a will and trust and how each document can assist you in planning your future.
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.
Guardianship and Conservatorship
Our law firm is experienced in legal issues involving adult or child guardianship as well as conservatorship. Here’s a brief overview of the two separate entities:
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.
Complex Estate Plans
Certain situations may require more complex planning outside setting up a typical will or trust. This is to ensure proper protection of your assets and to plan a comfortable future for yourself and your loved ones. Here are some additional areas of estate planning our law firm handles.
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.
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.
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.
Dying Without a Will
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.
If you’re looking to minimize/avoid probate with proper estate planning, or you have a family member that passed away without a valid will, we can help!
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.