Every estate plan is different. Despite the size of an estate or the value of any assets, an estate plan is pretty much the same process for all Michigan residents who want to protect their family and also protect all for which they have worked. For those who have not started or who have devised an estate plan years ago, there are some important tips about what not to do.

One vital tip is to not select the wrong beneficiary. In some high-profile cases, a person of considerable wealth has chosen a beneficiary who has developed money problems or even substance abuse problems that made their ability to handle an estate responsibly quite questionable. Also, some have chosen a beneficiary and not updated the plan — meaning that a beneficiary listed is someone who is already deceased, further complicating the estate-administration process.

Not updating a plan can lead to major complications for families. There are incidents involving a couple that has divorced and the ex-spouse is still listed as receiving the estate, leaving out children or a new spouse unintentionally. One tip is to not keep an estate plan a secret. Telling family what you want and have legally decided can keep surprises at bay and also help avoid disputes after a passing.

Knowing what all an estate plan entails is the first step to securing assets. However, knowing when to alter that plan and what pitfalls have befallen others can be of great benefit. Anyone interested in creating an estate plan should understand how the process works in Michigan and plan accordingly.

Source: investingdaily.com, “Key Estate Planning Mistakes You Need to Avoid“, Bob Carlson, July 24, 2014

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