Estate planning basics to offer peace of mind

When people die, they often hope that their surviving family members do not suffer and the legacy they leave behind is filled with happy memories and not stressful court proceedings. Over half of Americans do not have an estate plan, and sadly that leaves them and their families vulnerable to higher taxes, inheritance confusion and court. Estate planning is an important tool to ensure that your final wishes are carried out in the easiest and most efficient manner. Just a few basic steps can help residents of Michigan be prepared for their future needs.

The best advice is to get started on the estate plan today. It is better to be safe than sorry, and a person can never know exactly when he or she will need to implement the plan. Another important consideration is to keep the plan up-to-date. When a life milestone passes, one should check in with his or her planning documents such as wills, powers of attorney and beneficiary documents to ensure that everything is still properly in place.

If an individual is a business owner, he or she should plan for the future of the business as part of the estate plan. Another important facet of the estate plan is to plan for anything you may need while you are still living, such as power of attorney and advance directives. By taking a thorough look at these needs, a person is likely able to avoid any delays or court proceedings in the implementation of their plan.

Estate planning is sometimes put off, but having an effective plan in place will actually offer peace of mind. In Michigan, one does not have to face estate planning alone. There are professionals available, such as financial planners and estate planning attorneys, who can offer their professional guidance to ensure that any estate plan truly matches the needs of the individual.

Source:, "Estate Planning: A To-Do List to Get You Started", Chris Cooper, July 24, 2017