Top 3 Questions We Receive About Estate Planning in Grand Rapids, MI
You might have heard friends and family members discussing the values of estate planning, and you may have wondered whether you should be talking with an estate planning attorney. Generally speaking, nobody likes to think about estate planning, from questions concerning end-of-life care to wills and inheritances. Yet regardless of age, it is extremely important to think about estate planning and to discuss your options with an experienced Grand Rapids estate planning lawyer. Indeed, estate planning can help to ensure that your wishes are carried out regardless of your own mental or physical capacity, and safeguard can help to safeguard your requests with regard to your property and assets.
While many Grand Rapids residents recognize the importance of estate planning, this area of the law often leaves people with questions about how it works. The following are the top three frequently asked questions we received about estate planning in Grand Rapids, MI:
What is Estate Planning?
So, you have heard your neighbors, co-workers, and perhaps even family members talking about meeting with an estate planning lawyer. But what is estate planning, exactly? In short, according to the American Bar Association (ABA), estate planning is the process of planning for the legal disposition of your current assets and any assets you obtain in the future, as well as making arrangements for end-of-life care.
As such, estate planning allows you to determine who will inherit your property upon your death, but it also allows you to make decisions about who will handle your finances and medical care in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. We cannot stress enough that everyone, regardless of age or income, should speak with an estate planning law firm about the future. As the ABA points out, about 55 percent of all Americans die without a will or any estate planning documents, and this can create significant difficulties for loved ones.
What Documents Will I Need to Create?
Estate planning is complicated, and it is extremely important to seek assistance from an experienced Grand Rapids estate planning attorney. Some of the following documents that typically are part of an estate plan include but are not limited to:
- Will: your will allows you to choose how your property will be distributed upon your death. Generally speaking, you can be as specific as you want to be, naming as many or as few beneficiaries as you see fit.
- Financial (or “durable”) power of attorney: this document allows you to name someone who will handle your finances in the event that you become incapacitated and cannot handle your finances yourself.
- Medical power of attorney: this document allows you to name a person who will make medical decisions for you if you cannot do so yourself.
- Advance directive: this document allows you to make clear what your medical wishes are with regard to life-saving treatment in the event that you cannot communicate those wishes yourself.
What Happens If I Do Not Have a Will or Other Estate Planning Documents?
If you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself, the state of Michigan may appoint a guardian under Michigan law. If you die in Grand Rapids without a will, the will result in your assets being distributed to family members. Specific distribution depends on how many surviving family members you have at the time of your death.
Contact a Grand Rapids Estate Planning Attorney
If you have questions about creating a will, a power of attorney or other estate planning documents, you should speak with a Grand Rapids estate planning attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Offices Of David L. Carrier P.C., we have years of experience helping Michigan residents with various aspects of estate planning. Contact us today to learn more about our services.