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What are the documents should I include when setting up an estate plan?

Hubbard Snitchler & Parzianello

When you decide to set up your estate plan, you may not know where to begin. The options may seem overwhelming. In this post we will discuss some of the most important documents in any estate plan:

There are four common and important types of documents in estate planning. Your plan may not have all of them, but you should have some. The documents include:

  • A will: A will is the most common estate planning tool. It is used to distribute your financial resources and possessions to your heirs. l If you don’t have a valid will when you die, your estate will be distributed according to Michigan’s law of intestate succession. If you want to ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes, your should have a will.
  • A trust: A trust is another valuable estate planning tool that allows for many additional options for managing assets. A trust creates a fiduciary relationship in which property transferred into the trust is managed by a third party for the benefit of the beneficiary. Compared to a will or intestate succession, a trust can help your assets be distributed more quickly and can avoid probate in some situations. Some types of trusts can go into effect during your lifetime, helping you better preserve your wealth for yourself and your loved ones.
  • Durable power of attorney: A durable power of attorney can help you and your family in the event you are later unable to care for yourself. You can set up a durable power of attorney for medical and financial affairs which will designate a trusted agent will will manage your medical and financial affairs if you become incapacitated due to injury or illness.
  • Advance medical directive: An advance medical directive can be set up to specify the types of medical interventions that you do or do not want. It can include important end-of-life directives including a do-not-resuscitate order.

Estate plans are highly customizable to meet your personal goals and needs. Some may want a highly complex plan, while others may desire something relatively simple. The key point is that everyone should have some kind of plan. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you develop a plan that meets your needs and helps you and your loved ones reach your goals.

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