The 9 Essential To-Do’s for Your Michigan Estate Planning Checklist
What is estate planning, who should be doing it, and when? If you own any assets, you should meet with an estate planning attorney to set up a long-term plan to protect your assets while you are living and after your death.
Estate planning, for people of all ages, also includes making plans for your own personal and health care as well as that of your minor children in the event that you are not able to make decisions yourself.
In this blog, the experienced Michigan estate planning attorneys from Rutkowski Law Firm: Asset Protection & Estate Planning outline the main steps you should take when creating an estate plan.
What Are the Steps to Estate Planning?
1. Take Inventory
First, you will need to take inventory of your tangible assets and wealth, including any real estate properties, motor vehicles, art, electronics, collectibles, jewelry, and more. Next, estimate the value for each item and keep track of it all on a simple list.
2. Review Intangible Accounts
Many people often forget that their assets include more than just a house and car. Intangible assets can make up a large portion of your wealth. Your intangible assets may consist of:
- Bank accounts
- Stock investments
- Life insurance policies
- Retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) and individual retirement accounts
- Business shares
- Memberships to organizations with life insurance benefits
3. Tally Up Your Debt
Next, determine how much money you owe. Debt may come from credit cards, mortgages, car loans, home equity lines of credit, medical bills, and more. Keep a detailed list.
4. Plan for Your Family
Now you can shift your focus to your loved ones. You want to ensure that they receive proper care and protection when you are unable to provide for them. Consider adjusting your life insurance policy, naming a backup guardian for your children, and stating your specific child care wishes.
5. Study Up on Estate Taxes
Many people believe that proper estate planning can help you reduce estate taxes; however, most taxpayers do not need to budget for these expenses. Consider the federal estate tax laws and Michigan state laws to plan for future costs adequately.
6. Create Directives
Directives allow you to dictate your medical and financial preferences so that if you become incapacitated, your care will align with your requests. Common directives include:
- Living wills or medical care directives
- Living trusts
- Durable power of attorney
- Limited power of attorney
7. Draft a Will and Other Legal Documents
If you haven’t done so already, write your will to dictate your wishes, including who will receive your assets.
Aside from your will, you may need to draft additional legal documents. For example, if you create a trust, your beneficiaries can receive assets without going through the lengthy probate process that a will requires.
8. Choose an Estate Administrator or Executor
You must select someone to manage the estate administration process after your death. This person will carry out the wishes of your will, so be sure to choose someone you trust.
9. Search for Estate Planning Attorneys
Now that you understand all of the work that goes into an estate plan, you may consider returning to your search for “estate planning lawyers in my area.” An estate planning attorney can advise you through each step of the process.
What Is a Good Estate Planning Checklist?
Use the checklist below to ensure that your estate plan includes everything you need:
- Does the plan cover all of my assets?
- Have I considered my debts?
- Did I review how and to whom I want to distribute my assets?
- Do I have a health plan in place if I get sick?
- Did I create funeral and burial plans?
- Are all of my documents up to legal standards in my state of residence?
- Have I selected an estate planning attorney near me?
What Documents Are Necessary for Estate Planning?
To complete adequate estate planning, you will likely need:
- Property titles
- Itemized lists of all tangible and intangible assets
- Tax records
- Health insurance and other account information
- Bank statements
- A list of debts with information about how to pay them off
- Personal business information
Why Should I Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?
A law office with estate planning practice areas can help gather all of your information and advise you on anything you need so you will have peace of mind knowing that everything meets legal requirements for federal and state law.
Rutkowski Law Firm | Asset Protection & Estate Planning: Protecting Everyone You Love and Everything You Own Through Thoughtful Estate Planning
Rutkowski Law Firm | Asset Protection & Estate Planning boasts a team of dedicated and experienced attorneys who will help you protect everyone you love and everything you own. We will work closely with you to provide a custom, comprehensive estate plan that covers all of your needs.
We serve clients in Bloomfield Hills, Rochester, Kalamazoo, Sterling Heights, Port Huron, Macomb, Detroit, and throughout the state of Michigan.
Call our estate planning attorneys today at (248) 792-9193, or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Our office is totally virtual, so you can meet with us via Zoom from the comfort of your home.
Protecting everyone you love and everything you own through thoughtful planning.
Copyright © 2022. Rutkowski Law Firm: Asset Protection & Estate Planning. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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