Discover The 3 Most Common Mistakes People in Michigan Make with Wills and Trusts That Cost Their Beneficiaries Thousands After Their Gone

Living trust and estate planning form with a pen and book

Making plans for your death and what comes after can be very difficult for a lot of people to get their heads around. There are also far too many people who are ignoring this issue and not taking steps to help them deal with the best way to prepare for your death. This means you need to take steps to prepare your will and probate in advance, and this should not be something you overlook.

Once you pass away, your will must be legitimized in a court of law, and this is a process that can take some time. But, this is not something that will affect you at the time. You need to take steps that are going to help you improve this process in advance. Here are three of the most common mistakes that people make with wills and trusts that wind up costing beneficiaries thousands. 

1. Not Having a Will, Trust or Estate Plan at All

You would actually be surprised by how common this is, and there are a lot of factors that you need to keep in mind if you are serious about achieving this. You need to make sure you have some kind of will in place before you die, and putting it off is not a good thing because you never know when you might get sick or die. 60% of American adults are believed to have no estate plan or will written out, and this can be disastrous if they wind up dying, leaving their loved ones with nothing. You also need a current will, and you have to remember that, whether you’re in Michigan or California, an out-of-state will can slow the process down significantly. 

2. Improper Beneficiary Designations

It’s not enough to create a living trust or Castle Trust, the trust needs to be funded properly by changing beneficairies. One of the biggest mistakes that we see at our office is people have an estate plan, but they never funded their trust.

A trust is like a suitcase, there needs to be things in the suitcase to pass to the next generation. If you don’t fund the trust, with the proper beneficiary designations, then all you are doing is passing an empty suitcase and now assets might end up going into probate, which can be time consuming, costly and an all around pain in the butt.

3. Not Updating Your Estate Plan

Estate planning is not a one and done type proposition. Things change on a regular basis. Your family situation changes, laws can change, assets can change, etc.

It is important to review your estate plan on a regular basis, we recommend annually. Think of an estate plan as a parachute, you will never know when you need it, but you want to make sure there are no holes in it when you do need it.

For example, If your estate plan is older than 2020 and you have IRA’s, the Secure Act may muck up your estate planning goals. If your estate plan is older than 2012, it may be missing key language for your financial power of attorney. If your estate plan is older than 2010, it may be missing key language based on the Michigan Trust Code of 2010. If your estate plan is older than 2004 it is missing key HIPAA (Medical release) information.

Don’t Make Mistakes in Your Estate Plan

There are so many complexities involved in this process, and you need to try to do as much as possible to get this right. There are plenty of ideas you need to keep in mind when it comes to writing up the perfect will and testament, and this is something that you need to make sure you make the most of right now. Use these mistakes as guidance for things to avoid when it comes to shaping the perfect will and trust to ensure maximum benefit for those left behind.

If you would like to get started on putting together your estate plan, feel free to reach out to us at 844-885-4200 or visit us online at

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