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Oakland County MI Estate Planning Law Blog

Choosing a medical power of attorney

Residents in Michigan are getting older. With old age come multiple medical issues. Many people will need to seek the care of medical professionals at some point in their lifetimes. Some may be unable to make their own decisions when it comes to their medical needs. When people are unable to make their own medical decisions, they may need someone to do that for them. If a person has a medical power of attorney, this can be a lot easier.

A medical power of attorney holder can make decisions on someone else's behalf when that person is no longer able to make medical decisions on his or her own. This can be extremely helpful in cases where a person is no longer conscious or is otherwise incapacitated. However, it is important that the right person is allotted the medical power of attorney.

When should you challenge a will?

When a loved one dies, it can be very traumatic for the remaining family. People miss their family members and wish their deaths never had to occur. However, death is a fact of life, and we have to come to terms with this difficult time period. While it is often not the first priority, at some point relatives must deal with their deceased family member's will. People will find out how their loved ones planned to distribute the assets following their deaths. The information found in a will, however, can be difficult if the will has terms that people were not expecting.

When a will does not meet these expectations, many people may wonder whether not they should challenge the will. There are many situations where challenging a will is appropriate.

Use a trust to protect your family

An estate plan is important for every Michigan resident. However, how that estate plan looks will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each resident. Often, an estate plan includes a will along with other estate planning documents. These documents may help to explain how a person wants to distribute the person's assets following the person's death.

If an estate plan is not in place, a person's assets will be distributed according to state law. This may not be ideal for many reasons. One, it does not necessarily allow individuals to take advantage of tax breaks that may be available under other estate planning tools. Also, it does not allow individuals to expressly state their intentions on how they want their property to be distributed.

Dementia and competency in Michigan

As Americans age, Michigan residents need to be familiar with many of the diseases that can affect elderly individuals. While some of these diseases can be problems with the body, others can be problems of the mind. In some cases, individuals lose their ability to understand who they are, where they are and what they are doing.

This decline in thinking and memory abilities is often referred to as dementia. Dementia includes a variety of medical conditions that affect a person's cognitive, psychological and physical functioning. When a person suffers from dementia it can be difficult, if not impossible, for that individual to function normally. A person may need help in all areas of the person's life. This includes making legal and financial decisions.

Competency questioned in trust case

Michigan residents have a lot of flexibility when it comes to their estate plans. By taking advantage of the many different estate planning tools available, people can make the most of their assets. This can include the use of many types of trusts.

However, people may need to revise their estate plans over time. People may feel that their assets would be best protected by using a different estate planning tool or under the direction of a different person. Typically, people have the right to change their estate plans as they see fit. However, certain conditions must be met. In particular, people must be of sound mind and capable of understanding their decisions when changes are made. People must also be free of undue influence from another when changes are made.

What does long term care look like?

People in Michigan are getting older. Americans, in general, are starting to reach retirement age in much larger numbers. 'Baby Boomers' are more often finding themselves in need of long-term care. It is important to understand what long-term care looks like, and what it costs, in order to prepare yourself and your family for the realities ahead. Many people are finding themselves unable to stay in their homes on their own. Therefore, they rely on long-term care facilities or other help in order to live as normal a life as possible.

Long-term care planning is an important part of estate planning. People need to understand how their assets will be used as they grow older. If people do not anticipate long-term care, they may find they do not have enough assets to take care of themselves.

Costs of long term care

Americans, as a whole, are getting older. Many Michigan residents need to begin to plan for their retirement and beyond. While people hope to be healthy in their older years, many people will face health challenges as they age. These challenges can make it difficult for individuals to live alone or to live without significant medical interventions.

Therefore, as people plan for their golden years, they need to factor in the cost of long-term care in Michigan and throughout the United States. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the costs of long-term care in the US can be significant. If an individual needs to go into a nursing home, the costs can be thousands of dollars each month.

Don't forget to plan for your family's future

People spend their adult lives worrying about their loved ones. People go to work to afford the things they need for their families. They take care of their homes to provide their children with a stable and happy environment to grow up in. And, they save money to provide the best future possible for themselves and the people they love.

With all the busyness of everyday life it can be easy to forget about what comes after a person is gone. What happens to a person's family then? Will they be well taken care of? Will they have access to the necessities that they need? Often the answers to these questions can only be reached with some degree of certainty through the use of a proper estate plan.

Even celebrities fail to prepare wills and estate plans

Many Michigan residents were undoubtedly devastated when they learned that the musician Prince had died. The gifted vocalist and guitar player had a recognizable style and presence that was well-known by even those who may not have been big fans of his music. Though news of his untimely death dominated many media outlets in the wake of his passing, an interesting fact about his estate emerged in the weeks following his death.

It appears that Prince did not have a will when he died. Despite his wealth and celebrity stature, he did not create a plan for how his money and assets should be distributed in the event of his passing. His failure to provide any direction about his intentions for providing his loved ones with inheritances left the very real possibility that his entire estate will be subject to review by a probate court.

Who can inherit from an estate other than a spouse?

Many people in Michigan know that they need to have an estate plan in place in order to pass property from themselves to another. However, many people never actually take the opportunity to develop an estate plan during their lifetime.

Therefore, many people die without a will, trust or other estate planning tool in place. These estates, however, will still be distributed. Instead of following the wishes of the decedent, the estate will be distributed based on intestacy laws in Michigan.

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