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Michigan residents can learn from estate plan mistakes

No plan is fool-proof, including an estate plan. While a vital process for any adult in Michigan, there are mistakes in the estate planning process that can truly disrupt or paralyze a person's efforts to have his or her wishes honored after death. Several recent celebrity deaths and estate planning details have made the news as a lesson for others who wish to avoid common estate planning mistakes.

Robin Williams serves as one example. He had a trust in place for his children as a means of leaving them assets privately. However, a co-trustee died before Williams, and the trust then was made public. As a result, everyone knows what he left to whom. This was exactly opposite of the reason for the trust creation in the first place.

Author Michael Crichton also made a critical mistake by not updating his estate plan. He didn't make necessary accommodations for his children he had with the wife he was married to at the time of his death. This pitted his wife and his children from a former marriage against each other, which is probably not a situation he would have wanted.

The lessons learned through the public estate planning mistakes of others can help those in Michigan who are in the beginning stages of estate planning. It can also help serve as a reminder for those who have already created an effective estate plan. Revising and adjusting a plan when life circumstances warrant is one way to avoid the above pitfalls and ensure an estate plan is always relevant to the situation at hand.

Source:, "<4 Lessons from Celebrities Who Messed Up Their Estate Planning Big Time,", Tommy Wyher, Jan. 23, 2015

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