Michigan Estate Planning Attorney

Estate planning is important to not only prepare for the inevitable, but to also have a plan in place in the event of an emergency. Estate planning gives you control over your assets and how they’re managed both during and after your life. Using a good estate planning attorney ensures that your wishes are honored and that you’re protected against legal issues involving probate or estate litigation.

At Sean J Nichols, PLLC we can help:

  • Ensure a comfortable future for your family
  • Legally document your last wishes
  • Plan a comfortable future for a child with special needs
  • Reduce taxes such as gift, income, or estate taxes
  • Protect your assets against creditors, lawsuits, etc.
  • Delegate Power of Attorney for healthcare/finances
  • Protect the inheritances of your heirs

Our law firm has years of experience helping individuals and families navigate issues related to estate planning in Michigan. Regardless of the complexity of your situation, Sean J Nichols, PLLC is dedicated to making this process as straightforward and efficient as possible while covering individual needs.

Call and talk to an estate planning lawyer today (734) 386-0224

Why Hire Us?

Our law firm is dedicated to helping families across Michigan plan a comfortable future. We are dedicated to client success and pride ourselves on making estate planning as simple, straight forward, and affordable for our clients as possible. We do not push unnecessary or overly complex plans on our clients.

On the other hand, for issues that do require more complex planning such as large estates, family members with special needs, or issues involving legal disputes or litigation, our law firm has the knowledge and experience to effectively handle these cases as well.

Top Rated Estate Planning Attorney

Attorney Sean Nichols has dedicated his legal practice to helping senior citizens and families with legal issues involving aging. Throughout this time, he’s achieved a perfect 5 star consumer rating among clients. This includes multiple attorney review sites over the course of several years.

How We Can Help

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).

At Sean J Nichols, PLLC we specialize in many aspects of estate planning. These aspects include, but are not limited to the following:

Client Reviews & Testimonials

I have been so satisfied with Sean’s service.  Very thorough and makes you feel so comfortable.  I would recommend him to anybody.

J. Stewart

Sean helped me set up an estate plan for myself, my business, and my family. He’s a very knowledgeable attorney who makes things simple and straight forward to clients.

I would absolutely recommend Sean Nichols for anyone looking for help with elder law, estate planning, or probate matters.

K. Kohlert

Sean is a very talented elder law attorney who cares about his clients. His knowledge of the law and dedication to his craft is exceptional.

A. Montville

I thought my sister’s estate would take years but Sean took care of my sister’s estate very well and quickly. And he has written my trust and will and done a very good job. Everyone is very happy with him.

M. English

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.

Open estate planning textbook on a table with the page titled willsMichigan 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. 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.

Regardless of your age or the amount of property you own, almost everyone should draft a will as soon as possible. According to Michigan Legal Help,

“If you own any property or have children under 18 years of age, you may want to create a will. In your will, you can choose who will receive your property. You can also choose someone you trust to act as the “personal representative” for your estate.” (Michigan Legal Help, 2020, I Need to Make a Will). 

It’s important to use an attorney to establish your will to reduce potential legal issues with the document. These legal issues may include the will being contested in court.

Michigan Trusts

A trust 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.”

Our law firm provides comprehensive legal guidance to trustees as well as beneficiaries named within the document.

Michigan Estate & 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.

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 will or trust. These situations may involve high asset planning, tax minimization strategies, or providing long term care for an adult or child with special needs.

Our law firm handles basic estate plans as well as more comprehensive estate planning strategies. Below are common examples of complex planning strategies we assist clients with.

Business Succession Planning
Establishing a business succession plan allows 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.

Asset Protection Planning
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. 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.

Regardless of the complexity of your situation, our law firm can help ensure proper protection of your assets and to plan a comfortable future for yourself and your loved ones.

Common Estate Planning Questions

As an estate planning lawyer with years of experience, there’s a pattern of frequently asked questions from both clients, and the general public. On this page, I’m going to address some of these common questions.

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.

Believe it or not, almost everybody has an estate. Simply put, your estate is comprised of everything you own including your car, home, other real estate, checking and savings accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture, and personal possessions. No matter how large or small, everyone has an estate.

With that being said, an estate plan is not just concerned with property and asset distribution; it can also be utilized for dictating health care needs throughout someone’s final days, or during illness. In short, an estate plan ensures that your wishes are clear even if you’re unable to communicate.

Although you technically do not “need” an attorney to set up a will or trust, you also do not “need” a surgeon to perform a minor surgery. With that said, using a licensed professional to handle important issues such as these will give someone the peace of mind knowing there won’t be issues or complications down the road.

For example, if an estate plan is improperly set up, your will or trust can be disputed in court or the court may declare your property intestate. In other words, your family may not receive assets and inheritance and it will cost significant legal fees to fix issues caused by the improperly set up estate plan.

All of this can be avoided by using an experienced lawyer to craft your estate plan. 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.

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.

Simply put, a Power of Attorney is a document that gives one individual the power of making medical/financial decisions to another individual in the event of incapacity. The two main types of power of attorney documents include:

Financial Power of Attorney – As the name suggests, this document appoints another individual with the ability of making financial decisions on someone’s behalf should they become incapacitated.

Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) – Also called a patient advocate designation, the medical power of attorney is a document that grants someone the power of making medical decisions on someone’s behalf.

If you have assets you wish to pass on to family members or someone close to you, then yes. It’s a common, unfortunate misconception that estate planning is only for wealthy individuals with substantial assets/property. These misconceptions contribute to many unnecessary issues in court over the distribution of one’s assets.

Consider these reasons why you should have an estate plan:

  • Preventing your assets from ending up in the hands of the court or unintended beneficiaries
  • Protecting families with young children
  • Preventing heirs from overpaying in taxes
  • Eliminating possible confusion and legal disputes among family members

A lawyer advises clients on getting their affairs in order to prepare for the possibility of becoming unable to care for themselves or death. They also help guide people in choosing the correct options for maintaining their estates after death or incapacity. This includes writing instructions for the future handling of their property, finances, healthcare, and the future support and care of their loved ones.

Estate lawyers also can help prevent, or significantly reduce estate taxes. Furthermore, an attorney helps to ensure the management and distribution of the estate is carried out according to plan. Whether your estate plan is simple, or complex, it’s important to consult with a lawyer to protect your interests and assets should you become incapacitated or when you reach the inevitable end of life.

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

Estate Planning Attorney In Plymouth, MI

The law offices of Sean J Nichols, PLLC is located in Plymouth, MI. We 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) 219-9798

REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT