June 09, 2017
Four Steps for A Strong Estate Plan
Developing an estate plan is not something that you should do without thoughtful consideration. It is never too early for you to plan for your future. Yes, an estate plan is about planning for your future care and upkeep as much as it is about protecting your assets and selecting your heirs. Therefore, you need to take steps now to secure your financial future and protect your right to make medical decisions for yourself, even if you are unable to communicate those decisions in the future.
There is not a one-size-fits-all plan. However, that is what you will find from online estate planning websites or firms who dabble in probate law along with a little bit of everything else. At The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA, our Michigan estate planning lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you develop a customized plan that fits your specific needs. Call 888-390-4360 to learn more about why you need a comprehensive estate plan now.
Four Ways You Can Develop a Strong Estate Plan
Before you sign the first estate document, you need to make sure that your plan will be strong and solid. You don’t want an estate plan that could be subject to petitions to contest or fall short of your needs.
Before you begin, consider these four suggestions:
- Hire a Different Probate Attorney than Your Spouse
Most spouses use the same attorney to draft their estate plan because couples usually have the same goals and desires. However, using two attorneys means that you and your spouse’s interests are equally represented. Your attorneys can work together to ensure that your estate plan resolves mutual issues as well as individual matters. While not every couple requires two attorneys, couples who have substantial assets, premarital agreements, a family business or business interest that doesn’t include the spouse, or children from a previous relationship may want to consider having separate attorneys.
- Consider Pre-Paid Funerals
Funeral expenses can be extremely costly, and the cost will continue to increase each year. By pre-paying basic funeral costs at today’s price, you not only save money, but you also remove some of the stress your family members will experience after your death. Pre-planning your funeral means that your loved ones can avoid stressful decisions (and potential disagreements about the arrangements) while allowing you to ensure your wishes are followed.
- Plan for the Date You Want to Retire
You don’t have to work until the government says you can retire. Part of estate planning is ensuring you have sufficient assets for retirement. If you want to retire at 62 instead of 72, you can take steps now to have sufficient income to pay your living expenses for the lifestyle you desire while protecting assets that you want to leave to loved ones after your death. The earlier you begin developing a plan for your future, the better you can estimate the income you will need and determine how to ensure the income is there when you are ready to retire.
- Don’t Assume You Will Die at a Certain Age
One of the biggest mistakes people make while planning for their retirement and their estate is assuming you will be dead by a certain age. Without proper planning, you could outlive our retirement savings and be forced to liquidate assets to pay for your care. It is much better to plan for a longer life expectancy and leave more money and property to your heirs than to be forced to drastically alter your standard of living because you are running out of money.
The Elder Care Firm of Christopher J. Berry, CELA
It is our goal to help you create an estate plan that provides for your future and the future of your loved ones. We understand that your issues are unique; therefore, we take the time to learn about you and your family before we begin guiding you through the planning process. Whether you are concerned with end-of-life medical issues, protecting a family business, setting up a trust to protect assets, protecting a special needs heir, trust or estate administration, or charitable planning, our attorneys can help you with all your estate planning matters and goals.
Contact our office by calling 888-390-4360 or use our online contact form to request more information or schedule an appointment with our Michigan estate planning lawyer.