New Laws May Require Updated Estate Plans

You should update your estate plan on a regular basis, especially after life events including divorces, marriages, the birth of a child, the death of an heir, or major asset acquisitions. It is a good idea to meet with our Michigan estate planning attorneys on a regular basis to review your plan and make necessary changes. Once you are incapacitated or you pass away, it is too late to make those changes.

During 2016, several laws were passed that could impact your estate plan. Because laws are passed each year, we recommend reviewing plans to ensure that any new laws do not require changes. Below are several of the laws in 2016 that could impact your plan.

Funeral Representative Act of 2016

Once we are gone, it is up to family members or close friends to determine how our life will be celebrated and the disinterment or disposition of our bodies. You could make requests in your estate documents noting how you would like your funeral to be conducted and whether you wanted to be cremated or buried. However, those were suggestions and not legally binding demands. Under this new Act, you can designate a person to make these decisions and to possess your cremated remains, if applicable. Now you can choose someone you trust to carry through with your requests instead of hoping whoever is in charge respects your wishes.

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act of 2016

Digital assets can be a tricky issue in an estate. You may or may not want a personal representative or other family members to have complete access to these records. Now you can name a fiduciary who has access to these records to take steps to close accounts and dispose of records. Your fiduciary can be your personal representative, a person acting under your will, a trustee, or a conservator. Digital assets include social media accounts, gaming accounts, online shopping accounts, banking & investment accounts, and other accounts that can be accessed through the internet.

Repeal of Wife’s Dower Rights in Michigan

Dower rights were abolished in April of this year in Michigan. A wife is no longer required to sign the deed when her husband transfers real estate in Michigan. Before the abolishment of dower rights, a wife had a one-third interest in all real estate owned by her husband during marriage. If the husband decided to sell the property, the wife had to sign the deed relinquishing her dower rights. Husbands did not have dower rights in the wife’s real estate.

Michigan Designated Caregiver Act of 2016

This law now gives you the right to name a person to provide care in your home after you are discharged from a hospital. The Act requires that the hospital work with your caregiver by notifying him or her of your discharge date, advise them about your aftercare needs, issue a discharge plan to the caregiver, and provide training and instructions (when possible) to your caregiver. The hospital should also answer questions from your caregiver about your care and needs.

Call Our Office for More Information

If you have any questions about setting up a living trust, or if you’d like to have your existing living trust reviewed in order to make sure it is set up properly for your situation, please give our Michigan wills and trusts firm a call at 844-885-4200 to set up a consultation or attend one of our free LifeCare Planning Workshops to learn more.


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