The entire estate-planning process can be tricky for families to navigate. It may be challenging for an elderly family member or spouse to disclose assets and financial information to the people to whom they may be closest. However, the more transparency there is when it comes to an inheritance and estate planning, the better Michigan families may be prepared to deal with estate planning and estate administration.

One area that may be difficult and require openness is the location of funds. Offshore or secret foreign accounts can spell trouble for those unfamiliar with the process. A significant chunk of the money may also be needed to pay penalties and fees for accessing the money. The more a family knows about these types of accounts, the better prepared they may be to distribute assets among family members.

Another area of concern may be debt. As parents or family members grow to be elderly, they may be lapse in paying bills on time or at all. In fact, some elderly family members may even forget to pay taxes. When that person passes on, those debts still need to be paid. The means of payment may mean an inheritance amounts to much less to accommodate settling the debt left behind.

It may be distressing to believe a certain amount of an inheritance is going to be part of a loved one’s estate plan and then find that amount is less than expected. Knowing the debts and liabilities upfront and while the estate-planning process is in the works can help everyone involved feel better prepared. Having professional guidance to deal with debts and complicated issues in Michigan can help heirs save time and money.

Source:, “Heirs Left With Unpaid Bills May Inherit More Grief Than Gold“, Deborah L. Jacobs, June 18, 2014

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