Many people don’t think they need an estate plan; however, regardless of the size of your estate, you can make life much easier for your loved ones by planning ahead for the future and by letting them know your wishes. You may know people whose family relationships, and sometimes business relationships, have sharply deteriorated while they attempt to settle the estate of a family member when a clear roadmap setting forth his or her desires was not available. Regardless of the size of your estate, having your wishes clearly stated helps assure your intentions are met, and it relieves a great deal of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty for your survivors, who may still be grieving and trying to find a way through all the issues they will be faced with upon your death.
In assisting you with your estate plan, Brook Smith will work with you to address your needs and goals. A part of that process is reviewing the tax implications of various asset distribution methods and deciding on the best way to minimize costs and maximize effectiveness.
The basic estate planning document is a will, but there are other estate planning tools that can be used depending on your needs. We will help you consider various trust options as well as the potential need for a durable power of attorney to provide for the handling of your assets if you are unable to do so while you are alive, and a health care power of attorney to address medical decision making during periods when you are unable to do so.
If you already have a will and/or a trust, it is important that those documents be reviewed and brought up to date on a regular basis. In the review and updating process, Brook Smith can make certain that your estate plan takes into account the latest changes in federal tax law, as well as Michigan law on estates and trusts. He will also help you incorporate any changes that may be necessary because of changes in your family or financial circumstances, or changes in the estate and tax laws.