The Steps to Setting Up an Estate Plan or Family Trust in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Setting Up Your Estate Plan in Michigan

There are few things that are more important than careful estate planning. All adults, no matter how young or old, need a well-crafted estate plan. It is imperative that you consult with an experienced Grand Rapids estate planning lawyer who can help you set up a plan that fully protects your legal rights and the interests of your family. When setting up your estate plan, the following three issues must be addressed:

  1. Protection for yourself: The simple fact is that there may come a day when you will not be able to make decisions for yourself. To protect your legal, financial and medical interests, you should set up a durable power of attorney and an advance healthcare directive. By doing so, you will empower trusted loved ones to make important decisions for you in the event that you are no longer able to do so.
  2. Protection for your family: If you have children, your estate plan needs to fully account for their protection. In fact, your estate plan should provide protection for anyone that relies on you. Whether it is a relative or even a beloved pet, your estate plan should make arrangements that considers their unique needs.
  3. Protection for your assets: Finally, a proper estate plan must account for the full extent of your assets. A will is one effective way to transfer property, though it is not the only way to do so. It is often also not the best way to do so. Many people in Michigan can benefit from other estate planning tools, such as a family trust.

Setting Up a Family Trust

A Michigan family trust is an estate planning tool that will allow you to efficiently distribute your assets to your heirs. The following is a list of four basic steps that are required to set up a trust in Michigan:

  1. Select a trustee: The trustee is the person who is in charge of the assets within the trust. He or she will be responsible for collecting, managing and eventually distributing all of the trust’s assets.
  2. Select the beneficiaries: You also must select the beneficiaries for your trust. These are the people, or perhaps single person, who will eventually be able to claim the assets within the trust. In Michigan, a person does not need to actually be a family member to be selected as a beneficiary of a family trust.
  3. Determine what assets will be included: You will need to select the specific assets that will be included in your trust. A trust is not a ‘catch-all’ asset distribution tool. You must assign assets to the trust. A wide range of assets can be transferred to a trust, such as real estate, vehicles, money, an investment account, and even valuable heirlooms.
  4. Transfer assets into the trust: Finally, Michigan family trusts must be fully funded at the time of creation. This means that assets must be properly titled in the name of the trust or you will lose out on the important benefits that the trust provides. While this can be a complicated process, an experienced Grand Rapids family trust lawyer can help.

Do You Need Legal Assistance?

At The Law Offices Of David L. Carrier P.C., our team has extensive experience helping Michigan families prepare themselves for the future. If you are beginning to think about the estate planning process, please join us at one of our Grand Rapids LifePlan Workshops. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us today to learn more, we look forward to hearing from you!

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