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Childless Michigan couples should consider estate plan options

Couples with children may be apt to go about the estate planning process in a timely fashion as they realize the importance of protecting minor children and ensuring proper care of those children should something happen to both parents. Michigan couples who don't yet or won't ever have children should not postpone creating an estate plan, as it is also important that these couples protect assets and each other in the event one of them dies. There are certain steps a childless couple may want to consider when considering a comprehensive estate plan.

If there are joint assets and one spouse dies, the other spouse generally receives those assets without much complication or dispute. However, if there are individual assets and the spouse they belong to dies without a will in place, the assets have to go through the intestate probate process. This can make the process costly and time-consuming for a surviving spouse or other family members, making a stressful time even more so.

One option for childless couples who want a smooth and cost-effective transfer of assets is the creation of a revocable living trust. This can be effective for tax purposes also. A trust can protect those left behind and help ensure a smooth transition if one spouse is incapacitated.

When it comes to a safe and flexible estate plan in these circumstances, a trust can be the best option and provide the wanted protection. There are several types of trusts that a Michigan family may want to consider, and finding out the specifics can help any couple find the best fit for their individual needs. An estate plan is not a one-size-fits-all venture as each situation is unique, and the specific needs of each every couple should be carefully considered.

Source:, "Estate planning for childless couples", Carissa Giebel, March 30, 2015

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