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An effective estate plan requires certain key documents

The thought of sitting down to put together a will may naturally be unappealing, as people prefer to focus on enjoying life rather than contemplating what would happen to their belongings if they died. Failure to develop an estate plan, however, may mean that a person's family members in Michigan will not end up getting the assets he or she would like them to have in the future. A well-thought-out estate plan also helps to minimize stress and potential conflict among family members after one has died.

It is important to create a will or establish a trust. A will is less expensive, but a trust offers the advantage of allowing one's personal assets to be distributed to surviving loved ones with more privacy. Still, it will need to go through the process of probate in order to distribute to the parties named in the will any property that is not being held in one's trust.

A medical directive is also a wise document to create during the estate planning process. This document states which person would have the authority to make medical decisions on one's behalf if one cannot communicate due to an illness or injury. This individual needs to be trustworthy. It is also invaluable to update beneficiary forms associated with retirement accounts such as an IRA, as the information listed on these forms will take precedence over that listed in a will.

Proper legal guidance can help people in Michigan to efficiently create an estate plan. Because each situation comes with its own set of circumstances, estate planning can be different for each Tennessee resident. Therefore, parties may wish to explore options concerning wills, trusts and other planning factors.

Source:, "The most important money conversation you're not having", Jeanie Ahn, Jan. 30, 2015

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