Draft Your Wills and Protect the Unity of Your Family
It is always necessary for you to create a will and secure the interests of your family while you still can. Your asset base should not determine whether you need to draft a will. Everyone with a family should have one to secure the unity of their home if the unfortunate becomes our reality, because, if you don’t, Michigan makes a will for you, and you may not like the outcome.
Some of these rules specify how assets like money and property should be distributed if someone passes away without leaving a will. In some cases, this does actually work fine. But, for unmarried partners, it’s a nightmare. For those individuals, the death of your loved one gives you no rights to any of their property, no matter the length or quality of your relationship – no matter what type of property you may own together, unless some other actions are taken. Beneficiary designations or joint ownership can get around these concerns, but the only surefire way to protect your surviving partner is to make a will, or better yet, a trust, which avoids probate all together. Without advice from an Elder Law Attorney, your hard-earned assets could be subject to fees, costs, waste, or, worst of all, could be distributed completely opposite to what you wanted.
Making a will can help protect your children as well. If tragedy strikes, your will can dictate who will help support your children and how that child can receive their inheritance without too much court involvement. But be careful, wills are a bare minimum to protect these interests from too much exposure to outside prying eyes. As we like to say, lets not air-out the dirty laundry for the world to see. A trust is a much better instrument to handle distributions to children.
But tragedy can also come in other forms. The breakdown of a relationship is heartbreaking. Healing form that loss is always priority number one, but on your radar should be updating your estate plan. If your will gives control or a significant portion of your Estate to that ex-loved one, you may want to come in and update it as your planning needs and wishes have likely changed. Sometimes the law makes the changes for you. In divorce, your will naming your ex-spouse as the executor and primary recipient of your property may become completely invalidated just by operation of law! So, it is always imperative to seek estate planning advice after such a major life change.