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Estate planning is important for childless couples

There is a great deal of information available on the internet concerning the issues that parents may face that require a solid estate plan. The volume of storylines addressing estate planning for young parents may seem to suggest that married couples without kids need not be as concerned about their legacies. In reality, estate planning for people without children is vitally important.

You Can Decide Who Should Inherit From Your Estate

Without a tailored estate plan, the state of Michigan will decide how to distribute your assets should you pass away unexpectedly. In general, your spouse will typically inherit your entire estate. While most couples may find this step acceptable and elementary, an individual may be surprised to learn that the estate will then pass to the family of the surviving spouse's family, leaving the first spouse's family completely disinherited.

When an individual passes away, there are three main options to distribute money and assets of the person's probate estate:

  • To the government through paying taxes
  • To relatives and friends
  • To a favorite charity, or many charities

Creating a tailored estate plan may help you to minimize taxes -- providing a larger amount to the people and charitable organizations that you care about. Moreover, you decide how your legacy should be handled. Even if you are in good health, accidents occur without warning and can give the state the power to control your estate. Similarly, passing without a will or other estate tools in place may create friction among your loved ones, leading to an increased potential for probate litigation.

Healthcare Decisions And Financial Powers Of Attorney Should Be Considered In An Estate Plan

Accidents, or a sudden medical emergency, can also leave otherwise healthy adults incapacitated for a short or long period of time. Michigan law allows you to designate who should make important decisions and manage your finances should you be unable to speak for yourself through financial and healthcare powers of attorney. Many married people choose their spouse, but having a backup plan available should your spouse also be incapacitated can give you peace of mind the your wishes will be understood and followed.

Choosing the right executor for an estate

When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another important issue that people need to think...

Is an IRA marital property subject to division?

Plaintiff, age 67 at the time of divorce, and defendant, age 59 at the time of divorce, were married for 23 years. The judgment of divorce provides for a division of property. Defendant appeals arguing that the trial court erred in determining the...

Digital assets and estate planning

Since the first smartphones were introduced nearly a decade ago, there has been a gradual shift from widespread use of traditional paper documents to digital documents. If you need proof, consider that most people have plane tickets on their phones,...

Child Support Modification

Plaintiff sought an increase in child support, claiming the defendant-father's income had increased substantially, which constituted a change in circumstances. In July 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to modify child support. In that motion,...

A divorce shouldn't thwart your estate planning goals

We all know that divorce is not easy, no matter how ready you may be to get out of a troubled marriage. There are certainly emotional hurdles to overcome as you move on with life, and the financial hurdles may take longer to get over than you may...

Creditor's Rights Against Estates and Trusts

The probate court denied a petition for formal proceedings. The petition further identifies the petitioner as a "creditor" of the estate and states that "Litigation against the Estate is pending." Appellee is the widow and was...

What to know about will contests

You create an estate plan to make sure your heirs and beneficiaries are taken care of in the event you are no longer able to. You may also do so to minimize the bickering and infighting that may come between surviving family members who may have...

Why the disdain for the estate tax

With the federal income tax filing deadline coming this week, it is a good time to talk about taxes and how they may apply to estates. While federal estate tax applies to few estates (i.e. those valued at more than $3.5 million), it continues to be...

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical given the stigma against...

Should college students have wills?

If your child is getting ready to graduate from high school this spring, you are probably amazed with how quickly the years have gone by since they first started kindergarten. This also means that you are getting older too, and you have probably...

Considerations in evaluating the prosecution's case

If you have been charged with a crime, it is essential to know how strong the government’s case is against you. Indeed, you may think the state has a flimsy case and has a snowball’s chance to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,...

The benefits of home health care providers

While the Affordable Health Care Act is poised to be amended or replaced completely, the law still has a number of useful provisions that some legislators are uncomfortable parting with. For instance, the current version allows states to create...

What to know about bail conditions

If you have been arrested and are being held on the suspicion that you have committed a particular crime, chances are that the only thing you are thinking about is getting out of jail as soon as possible and proving your innocence. Under state and...

More spent on aging parents than on raising children

Much has been reported on the escalating costs parents face in raising a child. From birth to age 18, it is estimated that parents spend an average of $234,000 to raise a child. But when it comes to caring for an elderly parent, the costs are...

Trial court enters divorce default judgment.

Plaintiff filed divorce action after a nearly 20-year marriage. Although defendant apparently participated in various pretrial conferences and discussed the terms of the divorce judgment, he did not answer the complaint, a default was entered, and...

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