How can people in Michigan plan for the unfortunate but real possibility that their heirs and beneficiaries will encounter debt problems or some other financially draining event such as divorce? This question too often goes unaddressed in estate planning, and the money that well-meaning estate planners intend for their loved ones sometimes ends up being divided in a divorce settlement or siphoned away to pay off debt.
Family members need support after the death of a loved one, and estate distribution in Michigan often poses a particularly complex set of problems for grieving families. In the worst scenarios, matters such as undue influence have to be addressed in probate court.
The success or failure of a business corporation often depends on how smoothly the ownership and administration of the business is passed from the deceased founder to the heirs. Merely focusing on proper estate planning and ignoring estate administration can lead to prolonged litigation, which may affect the overall stability and growth prospects of the inherited businesses.
A person's death may be felt by a wide range of people, but it is usually up to surviving family members to deal with the difficult task of finalizing the estate of the deceased. This can become complicated if some of the heirs do not agree with the terms of a trust or will. Trust litigation can be drawn out and emotionally taxing when family members fight against one another. A state Supreme Court recently ruled against one daughter of a late millionaire who had challenged the terms of her father's trust in this way.
High-value assets can be good investments. However, passing along such assets to family members or beneficiaries is not always simple. When a person dies, an inventory must be made of both debts and assets. Any debts must be paid before the intended recipients can inherit from an estate. Proper estate administration can help to handle the details of transferring ownership.
Working hard, saving and investing are good ways to prepare for the future. If those preparations include estate planning, someone will have to be in charge of handling the estate owner's assets after that person passes away. Estate administration can clear up any possible confusion over a deceased person's debts, tax responsibilities and asset distribution.
In many cases, trust beneficiaries are disabled, and Michigan residents who are in charge of trust administration may need to take steps to better a disabled beneficiary's life. In doing so, it's important to be aware of the legal rights of everyone involved.
Readers in Oakland County might be interested in some recent news about trust administration. On Dec. 31, a surrogate judge ordered two trustees to answer for the lack of use of an account that was provided to a disabled beneficiary. The judge is said to have criticized the trustees for failing to note the needs of the disabled man and failing to improve his life by spending the funds in ways that could help him.