The task of creating a comprehensive estate plan can be overwhelming and confusing for some. Breaking up the creation of an estate plan into steps is recommended as a way to tackle the process and ensure it is done correctly. Similarly, it is important for Michigan families to weed out steps that may not apply to them and focus on those steps that do.

A will is perhaps the most basic and essential document that should be a part of an estate plan. However, another document that all individuals should consider is a living trust. A living trust can be a way to distribute assets to heirs directly without the heirs having to face the public probate process.

It is important to remember that assets include more than physical property and bank accounts. Each person should check beneficiary designations. It is vital to know which family members are listed as beneficiaries on retirement accounts and insurance policies. The people one needs to list as beneficiaries may change over time, such as in the case of a divorce, so beneficiaries should be reviewed and updated regularly.

An estate plan can be complicated; however, the failure to have an updated and accurate plan in place can be devastating for families in Michigan. One bit of advice, regardless of the needs of the family involved, is to share the plan with relevant parties so as to minimize confusion or disputes and to ensure that everyone is fully aware of the wishes of a loved one. With the help of estate planning professionals and the support of one’s family, an estate plan can mean peace of mind and protection for all involved.

Source:, “”Step-by-Step” Approach Can Ease Estate-planning Process”, May 25, 2015

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