What is an Estate Plan?
An Estate Plan is having the appropriate documents prepared to accomplish the following:
- Make plans regarding your care during your lifetime and appoint the people to make the decisions after you cannot do so to avoid Probate Court supervision.
- Appoint the people to make financial decisions for you and give them the authority to make those decisions without Probate Court supervision.
- Set up the distribution plan for your assets including who receives what share and possibly establishing Trusts to provide for the care of beneficiaries who are unable to, or are too young to manage their assets, or may be receiving “needs based benefits”.
- Appoint Guardians for minor children.
- Make a Succession Plan to distribute a family business to the next generation, being fair to all beneficiaries, and complete the transfer at the lowest cost to the Estate.
Why is Estate Planning important?
Estate Planning is important to provide for the care and financial security of the people who are dependent upon you and to insure your assets are managed properly during your lifetime and after your death. The Estate Plan will distribute your assets as you direct. Without an Estate Plan, the State of Michigan, through the Probate Court, will control all of the decisions regarding your Estate. The Probate Court appoints the Personal Representative using the low to select that person. The distribution of your assets is controlled by the intestate laws.
Is an Estate Plan important for someone in a second marriage?
One of the most important situations where an Estate Plan is needed is in the case of a second marriage. This is especially true where there are children of only one of the two partners in the marriage. If Wills and/or Revocable Living Trusts are not prepared, one set of children may be disinherited unintentionally.
Second marriage situations are complex and have legal traps. Consultation with an attorney to insure your wishes are carried out is very important.
What is Estate Administration?
Administration of a Will is to complete the Probate Process with Probate Court supervision after your death. The Probate Process includes such things as:
- Admission of the Will to Probate.
- Appointment of the Personal Representative.
- Determine the debts of the deceased and which debts will be paid.
- Protect and Care for assets during the time of the Estate Administration.
- Determine if there is sufficient insurance on the assets, and if not, acquire sufficient insurance.
- Determine the assets subject to the Probate Process.
- Sell the assets that must be sold.
- File all income taxes that are due.
- Distribute the assets to the beneficiaries who are entitled to the assets.
John E. Wieber administered his first Probate Estate in 1973 when he worked with the Trust Department at a Lansing Bank. He has administered or provided legal counsel to the Personal Representatives for hundreds of Estates since that time and has dealt with numerous different situations.
If there is a problem with the administration of an Estate and litigation is necessary, Wieber Green, PC, has the experience to help resolve the problem.
What is Succession Planning?
Succession Planning is part of Estate Planning and is generally considered one generation establishing a plan to transfer a business to the next generation. This process generally starts long before the death of the senior generation. In addition to the Revocable Living Trust, Will, Medical and Financial Power of Attorney forms, the following documents may be part of the plan: leases, deeds, Limited Liability Company documents, buy-sell agreements, options, land contracts, mortgages, security agreements, and promissory notes.
Succession Planning may be a difficult process. What is fair to all beneficiaries is usually the difficult decision. Equal distribution often may not be fair. Children who have been part of the building the business and have spent their lives working in the business may be entitled to a larger share.
We at Wieber Green, PC, have experience in helping clients through this process and preparing the documents to insure the plan is completed.
What is a Michigan Funeral Representative?
Michigan has a law regarding the appointment of a Funeral Representative which became effective June 27, 2016. This law allows you to appoint a funeral representative. Under prior Michigan Law, it was up to your closest living relatives to make the decisions regarding your funeral. You could have all the arrangements made and paid for, but after your death, your family could change everything. The law allows you to appoint a funeral representative who will make the decisions after your death. With the funeral representative, you can now be much more certain your funeral wishes will be followed.
Is Estate Planning important to Wieber Green, PC?
Estate Planning is a major and important part of our Practice of Law at Wieber Green, PC. John E. Wieber was a Trust Officer at a Lansing Bank for over six years, attending law school while working full time in the Trust Department. John has concentrated his practice in the areas of Trusts, Wills, Probate, Power of Attorneys, and Real Estate since 1979. He holds the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (“ICLE”) Certificate for Probate and Estate Planning. He also attends the annual Probate and Estate Planning Institute seminars as well as taking other courses offered through ICLE in the Estate Planning Area.
We at Wieber Green, PC, take pride in offering personalized documents that fit your specific situation. We review and update our documents regularly to make certain they are up-to-date and comply with Michigan Law so as to provide our clients with the best possible service.