The Bottom Line: We Get Results
Read some examples of our estate planning case wins below to see how we've helped some of our past clients get their lives back on track.
We created a Trust for a Client that specifically wanted funds held for the care and maintenance of his horse, which he has owned for over 18 years and thinks will live for another 10 years. We were able to secure a specific amount of money to fund this pet trust so that in the event the Client dies before the horse, the successor trustee (person in charge of the trust once client is gone) has not only money but instructions on how to care for the horse. Aldrich Legal Services, PLLC has handled a number of pet trusts for clients.
We had clients that were previously married to other people and had accumulated individual assets. The 2 clients were planning on getting married so we created a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, based on terms provided by the Clients after numerous discussions, that protected each of their assets in the event of a divorce. We had to consider assets currently owned by each client, the appreciation of those assets during the marriage, assets acquired by each individual during the marriage, assets acquired together during the marriage, the appreciation of those assets, income of each respective client and finally spousal support (f/k/a alimony) in the event of divorce. The clients felt secure in knowing that they established a set of terms governing how assets were handled in the event of divorce and thus removing the need for expensive litigation down the road.
Multiple Trust Package
We created a complex multi-trust package for 2 clients that were getting married and had children from other relationships. Each client was provided a trust that they could use as the beneficiary on assets that they individually owned to insure that those assets went into their respective trust if they were to die. Those assets would be distributed or managed for the benefit of their children. This allowed the clients to have peace of mind that their biological children were protected in the event of their death.
Ladybird Deed to avoid probate court
We needed to make sure that a client’s real estate was going directly to the client’s beneficiaries (in this case his children) and avoid probate court upon his death. We were able to do this through the creation of a ladybird deed, which is the mechanism for setting up a beneficiary on a piece of real estate. We drafted this special deed and then coordinated the client signing it and we then recorded it at the Register of Deeds in the County where the property is located. The client was very happy knowing that this property would avoid probate court and go directly to his children in the event of his death.
Special Needs Trust
We had clients that we were doing estate planning for that had a child with special needs. We needed to set up a special needs trust where money was set aside and to be held in this trust in the event the parents died. The clients then appointed a successor trustee to manage this special needs trust for the benefit of the child to make sure there were funds available for housing, medical, education and basic support. This prevented the child from getting all of the money and perhaps not properly managing it. This way the parents felt comfortable knowing that their child was going to be taken care of financially in the event of their death.
Amendments to existing estate planning documents
Clients came to us with estate planning documents they had prepared through another law firm years ago. They wanted to change the names of the individuals that they had appointed within their documents. We created amendments to their Trust, Wills and Powers of Attorney because over time their children, who were minors at the time they created their original estate planning documents, are now old enough to step in and be appointed as Personal Representatives, Successor Trustees etc.
Exclusion of child from inheritance
Every once in a while we have clients that wish to exclude a biological child from their estate planning for any number of reasons. We had to create estate planning documents that reference the child in question and specifically exclude them from taking under the estate in question. Michigan recently changed its law regarding this and now a parent can completely exclude a biological child from inheriting anything from their estate.
Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney
We had clients that not only wanted to protect assets in the event of their death but wanted to establish medical and financial powers of attorney in the event they are still alive, but incapacitated. These types of documents are often used in conjunction with standard estate planning documents like a Will and Trust. A will and trust deal with the concept of someone dying. Powers of attorney deal with someone that is still alive but disabled so that they cannot make decisions on their own. This could be due to an injury, a disease or even old age. We were able to set up these documents to appoint individuals that could make medical and financial decisions for the clients if they became incapacitated for any reason.