Most people may know it is important to have a will to express one's last wishes in the event of a passing. But, knowing you need a will and knowing just how important a will is to the protection of a family inheritance can be two different things. Anyone in Michigan who has assets, regardless of how meager, or those who have minor children, should be clear about how an inheritance can be protected with a comprehensive and updated last will and testament in place.
If there is no will whatsoever, the state will take over assets, and someone who does not even know you or your family will make most of the decisions that affect your family, including who gets guardianship of minor children. Dying without a legal will in place also means your surviving relatives will have to go through the probate process. The longer the probate process takes, the more likely it will be that a family dispute about assets erupts and further complicates how an inheritance is handled.
Once a will is understood as a necessity and steps are taken to create one, the document must be handled correctly and updated regularly. This means the will should be reviewed periodically. It is not a once-and-done kind of legal document. Family situations change though divorce, deaths, births, adoptions, etc., and what may seem like a sound decision about an inheritance early on may no longer be appropriate or fair after these family changes or evolutions.
Wills should be the first step to ensuring Michigan families get the inheritance a loved one wants to leave behind and that the inheritance is protected from probate challenges or disputes. Revising a will at certain intervals and discussing family changes with a legal professional, all the while keeping your family informed, can help make those wishes a reality when the time comes. Our website has more information about how to leave an inheritance and how to protect all you have worked for and wish to leave to loved ones.