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An estate plan is a smart New Year's resolution

When people sit down at the end of the year to evaluate their lives or decide on resolutions, creating estate plans may not automatically come to mind. Even so, the New Year is the perfect time to take stock of assets, funds and life choices and to create an estate plan that will ensure the protection of those assets and the family in general. Michigan families may want to think about the various benefits of creating or updating an existing estate plan sooner rather than later.

One of the best reasons to avoid delaying the creation of an estate plan is that a comprehensive plan will save money in the long run. The probate process can be costly, not to mention time consuming. If the plan is handled correctly, the time and money lost to the probate process can be eliminated.

An estate plan can also give a family privacy. If there is no plan and the state has to get involved, or the estate plan is not handled correctly, every detail may be part of public record, including how much money is left to each heir. A correctly crafted plan can ensure privacy for beneficiaries and also help avoid conflict arising between family members.

Each Michigan family is different and the estate plan crafted for each family must be created to reflect that family's needs. Even when a unique and customized plan is in place, updating that plan regularly is recommended. The New Year is the perfect time to update a plan or to sit down with loved ones and discuss the need for and details of a plan.

Source:, "3 reasons to include estate planning in New Year's resolutions", Eric Pfahler, Dec. 5, 2014

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