Michigan Estate Planning Attorney
Do I need a Will in Michigan?
Yes. In Michigan a Last Will & Testament provides you the ability to make several decisions about what happens after you pass away.
– First, it allows you to decide who gets your property including cash, personal property, family heirlooms, and real estate.
– Second, a Will permits you to nominate a Personal Representative of your estate – the person who will have the authority to pay your debts, settle any claims, and distribute your assets to the proper beneficiaries.
– Third, if you have minor children, a Will sets forth who you want to take care of your children upon your death.
If I have a Will, does my estate avoid probate?
Not necessarily. In Michigan, if you own any assets solely in your name upon your death, your estate will be subject to probate. Probate will be required to transfer such assets out of your name and distribute them to your beneficiaries or heirs. In order for your estate to avoid probate court proceedings, you will need a trust and/or beneficiary designations to address proper transfer of all assets upon your death.
Why do I need a Patient Advocate Designation?
In the State of Michigan, unless you designate a Patient Advocate no one is legally permitted to make medical decisions in the event you cannot make them for yourself, with one exception. The only exception to this rule is that of a parent-minor child relationship.
Should I add a second name to my bank account?
In Michigan, the effect of adding a second person to your bank account is joint ownership and increased liability. Upon the death of a joint account holder, the account automatically passes to the surviving owner. The assets in a joint account are subject to collection by creditors of either joint owner. A better approach is to have a Durable Power of Attorney in place. This legal document allows a person you choose to manage your finances for you at your direction or when you are unable to do so.