Estate Planning and How it Can Affect Your Family.

What is Probate?

  • Probate is a legal process.
  • A Will still passes through probate
  • Historical purpose of probate court
  • Your family has no control

What causes Probate?

  • Probate is a Latin derivative that means “to prove.”
  • A will must be proven before the court.
  • The existence of a Will requires probate court.

The Probate Challenge

  • Time: During the entire probate process your estate and its assets are frozen
    • The average length of a probate proceeding is 6 months to 18 months.
    • The cost to maintain property and pay court fees are passed on to your family.
  • Contestability: Every estate probated in Michigan is required by state law to be open for creditors for a mandatory period of six months.
    • During that time any person may file a claim for assets in the estate. This causes a delay of closing the probate estate
    • A claim leaves your family with two options:
      • Pay the claim
      • Pay an attorney to fight it
    • Also encourages ugly disputes amongst heirs contesting what “you really wanted to have happen.”
  • Loss or Privacy: Probate will cause your estate to have a public record that anyone can access or copy by going to the county courthouse, or possibly via the Internet.
    • What you are worth, to whom you gave your money and property, and how you distributed your legacy is now public knowledge.
  • Fees: The average cost of probate is about 5% to 10% of the value of your estate.
    • This includes:
      • Filing, and legal and inventory fees based on the gross value of the estate.

How Probate Will Affect You

  • Loss of:
    • Money
    • Time
    • Control
    • Privacy
  • A Process that will be costly
  • A probate judge will determine how your legacy is passed on to your heirs

What is Living Probate?

  • What is a guardian?
    • A guardian is a person appointed by probate court and given power to make some or all decisions about the care of another person.
  • What is a conservator?
    • A conservator is a person or corporation appointed by probate court to manage another person’s property and financial affairs.

The Value of Your Estate

  • Home
  • Vacation or rental property
  • Investments
  • Bank Accounts
  • Savings Accounts
  • Personal Property
  • Collections (Guns, antiques, Cars, etc.)

Revocable Living Trust

  • Holds title of your property
  • You are the primary trustee
  • You retain control of all your assets
  • You determine how your assets will be distributed.

Advantages of a Revocable Living Trust

  • Bypass the Probate Court Process
  • Estates in Trusts can be settled quickly.
  • Saves time, probate costs, and legal fees.

Why People Get Trusts

  • 6 Major Reasons for creating a Trust
    • Maintain control
    • Flexibility
    • Privacy
    • Quick transition
    • Preserve estate value
    • Peace of mind

Customizing Your Trust

  • You maintain control
  • A Trust is flexible
  • Easy to set up and maintain
  • Provides for minor children

Who Is Involved With Your Trust

  • Settlor: You
  • Trustee: Controls the trust (You)
  • Beneficiary: Who the trust benefits
  • Successor Trustee: Whomever you choose.
    • Must follow your wishes
    • Trust becomes “Irrevocable”

What’s Placed in Your Trust?

  • Real estate and financial assets
  • You have total control over these assets
  • Our experienced team will help
  • Placing assets in your trust is vital to avoid the probate court process

Beyond A Living Trust

  • A comprehensive Estate Plan includes:
    • Certificate of trust & notarized summary
    • Durable Power of Attorney for Financial
    • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
    • H.I.P.A.A Medical Information Release Form
    • A pour-over Will
  • Final Funeral Instructions
  • Transferring assets into the trust (funding)
  • Life Insurance and Financial Investments assessment

How A Trust Will Help You

  • Allows you to maintain control
  • Designed to fit your specific needs
  • Maintains privacy
  • Saves your family time and money during an emotionally difficult time
  • Avoids legal expenses
  • Peace of mind for you & your family

Creating Your Personal Estate Plan

  • Complete attorney retainer agreement and client information sheet
  • List people who will be involved with your trust
  • List real estate, financial investments and personal valuables
  • Sign the documents and submit a deposit
  • Schedule trust delivery & review
  • Friends & family who may need estate planning help

How To Take The Next Step

  • Will a Trust preserve your estate?
  • Is a Trust affordable vs. Probate Court?
  • Do you understand how a trust works?
  • Any questions or concerns.

Here Are Your Options

  • A Will / No Plan
    • Cost of Probate and Attorney Fees
    • Long Probate Delays (6 to 18 months)
    • No Privacy: Public
    • Less Control: Courts Have Control
    • No Guardianship
  • A Revocable Trust
    • Funding Assistance
    • Estate Settlement Assistance
    • No Probate Delays
    • Completely Private
    • No Executor Fees
    • No Probate Fees
    • Complete Control
    • Guardianship Included