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Oakland County MI Estate Planning Law Blog

The potential for abuse with a power of attorney

When people face incapacitation in life it can be a real challenge. People have to learn to rely on others in order for their most basic needs to be met. This doesn't just include people's basic needs -- like housing or food -- but it also includes people's financial affairs. Elderly people, in particular, may need help managing their finances if they begin to lose the ability to help themselves.

In order to do this legally many people create a power of attorney where they authorize another person to act on their behalf. This legal document can be narrowly or broadly constructed to serve the needs of the person.

What is a durable power of attorney?

Michigan residents can suffer from a variety of serious health issues. These issues can progress slowly or quickly and take away a person's ability to make decisions on the person's own behalf. When this happens, Michigan residents may need friends or family members to make important medical decisions for them. Otherwise, people may be left without being able to have a voice in their own treatment.

There are many legal avenues that can be taken in order for people to get decision-making power when it comes to their health. One way is through a durable power of attorney.

Estate planning for modern life

Estate planning takes on many different forms depending on the individual needs of the person. Each person can have different estate planning goals and desires when it comes to how they want their assets distributed following their death. Thankfully, there are many different ways that estate planning can be undertaken. In our modern society, it may be important to use many different estate planning tools in order to meet the goals that the individual has in mind.

Reaching estate planning goals can be difficult if people do not understand all of their options available to them. People need to understand how they can best use and distribute their assets. They also need to understand how to take advantage of Michigan laws in order to minimize tax liability and protect their families.

Planning for digital assets in estate planning

As most Michigan residents realize, the Internet has become an important part of many people's lives. Through the Internet, individuals gain digital assets that they use in their everyday lives. These include social media accounts, email, online bill pays and other online financial services. As a recent blog post has discussed, digital assets can now easily become part of a person's estate plan in Michigan.

Now that these assets can be included in a person's estate, it is important for Michigan residents to understand just how they should prepare for the distribution of their digital assets. The first thing individuals need to do is take an inventory of their assets. This does not just include a person's online accounts. But, it also includes people's hardware and software that contain digital information.

Michigan law handles the distribution of digital assets

Michigan residents are living in the digital age. People do not just have assets in their homes or businesses anymore. In fact, people have a whole slew of digital assets that are very important to them. While people may not think of their social media accounts as digital assets, they are. And, these things do not just go away once a person dies. In fact, people need to come up with a plan on how to handle their digital assets after their death.

This just got a bit easier in Michigan. Recently, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed into law a bill that allows individuals to assign digital assets like other types of property. Under this new law, individuals are able to assign how they want their digital assets to be distributed or used following their death. Probate courts are now able to give control of these assets over to assigned individuals.

What is a Qualified Personal Residence Trust?

There are many ways for Michigan families to plan their estates. The specific estate planning tools that are necessary for a particular family will depend on the facts in each case. It is important for families in Michigan to understand all of their options when it comes to estate planning. There are many considerations that must be taken into account as estate planning is completed.

One such consideration is whether individuals want to transfer the value of their personal property to a family member. If people want their home to go to their children following their death, there are many ways to do this. Some of these ways can help to reduce the families overall tax burden. One way to do this is through the use of a Qualified Personal Residence Trust.

Using trusts to lower estate taxes

When people think about their lives, they may think about their relationships and the people they love. For many people, thinking about their wealth is not the first thing that comes to mind when they think about leaving this world. While thinking about one's own death can be difficult, it is important for individuals in Michigan to think about what will happen to their assets and their family should they pass away. People might like to think that these issues will work themselves out. However, complex estate planning often needs to be done in order for people to protect themselves and their families.

In particular, when it comes to protecting their assets, individuals need to know how to best limit their tax liability. No one likes to pay taxes. However, tax liability does not end when a person dies. The person's estate will be required to pay a variety of taxes if preventative measures are not taken.

Make sure your will is ready for the unforeseen

Life is full of unforeseen circumstances. No one really knows what will happen today, tomorrow or well into the future. People can only try to be as prepared as possible for adverse events. While older adults may be prepared for their death, many younger adults are not. Thinking about a person's own death is not often pleasant. Instead, people want to push that possibility to the back of their minds and worry about it later. However, when it comes to estate planning this can be a mistake.

Individuals in Michigan need to have their estates in order no matter what their age. An important part of estate planning is creating a will. With the right will in place, individuals can make their final wishes known. Not only can individuals designate where their assets should go following their death, but people can also make their wishes known about their children.

Does an estate have to pay taxes after a person's death?

During the first few months of every year, many individuals start to worry about their taxes. Depending on the person's income, individuals can have a large tax burden each April. Individuals might wonder whether their estate also shares in this tax burden after they have passed away.

Unfortunately, a person's death will not help the individual escape tax liability at the state or federal level. Instead, under both federal and Michigan state laws, this burden is passed to the person's estate. More specifically, it becomes the responsibility of the personal representative of the estate to pay the taxes.

Will contest ends in $8.5 million settlement

Famed billionaire Kirk Kerkorian spent his life investing in a variety of businesses across the United States -- including in the automakers that have made parts of Michigan so famous. He was also key in developing many properties in Las Vegas and many businesses in other industries throughout the United States. However, last June Kerkorian died at the age of 98.

Following his death, a 17-year-old girl has filed a will contest. The girl claims that she is entitled to some of Kerkorian's estate because she is his biological daughter. However, Kerkorian never recognize the girl as his daughter during his lifetime. According to reports, the man was married to her mother for around one month in the late 1990s. Since that time, the man apparently developed a relationship with the girl and provided for her.

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