There seems to be no shortage of Americans who place little priority on estate planning. According to most estimates, the lion’s share of people in this country don’t have even basic estate plan documents like the Last Will and Testament and incapacity planning tools. And even many of those who do have a basic plan have chosen to rely on do-it-yourself documents rather than professionally-crafted strategies. If you’ve not yet created your own estate plan, it’s well past time that you got started. Before you do, however, it can be helpful to understand the real benefits that you can enjoy by working with a Michigan estate planning lawyer.
Estate planning strategies are all based upon state and federal law in one way or another. The law defines how wills are probated, what trusts can cover, and how incapacity planning documents can work to protect your interests. Since so much of the estate planning process is dependent upon statutory authority, it is important to have at least some insight into how those laws work when you’re developing your estate plan. Your lawyer can provide that insight and offer you the guidance and direction you need to ensure that your plan complies with all relevant legal requirements.
Without that guidance, you could create a will that contains unenforceable provisions. You might end up creating a trust that fails to accomplish your goals or that cannot survive legal scrutiny. Your business may end up without the important protections it needs to ensure asset protection and provide for an orderly succession when you die or become incapacitated. You may also end up missing out on important tax mitigation opportunities, which could result in your family members receiving smaller-than-expected inheritances.
Help with Complex Planning Concerns
It’s also important to remember that an lawyer’s experience can be invaluable for ensuring that you have the type of planning tools you need to meet all your unique needs. Very few of us can get by with a cookie-cutter approach to estate planning. Instead, most of us have specific needs that are different than our peers in the community. Whether it’s the need to safeguard an inheritance for a disabled child, or asset protection to ensure that a spendthrift loved one doesn’t waste his inheritance when you die, chances are that you have at least one or two unique needs that must be addressed.
Without a lawyer’s help, you run the risk of neglecting those needs altogether. That could result in an inferior estate plan that fails to properly protect your assets, your interests, or your family. The only way to ensure that you have all the right tools needed to deal with every complex concern is to rely on the experience and expertise of a competent legal professional.
With DIY options like form wills and trusts, there are typically few options for customization. Forms are like that. Unfortunately, few of us have lives that easily conform to such rigid structures. Each person’s family structure, asset portfolio, and legacy needs are at least a little bit different than everyone he knows. To accommodate those differences, you need an estate planning process that is flexible. That can only be enjoyed through consultation with an estate planning professional.
Your estate planning lawyer can work with you to identify your true needs and help you select the right tools to address each individual challenge. He or she can help to ensure that your plan is properly tailored to your lifestyle and legacy goals, providing just the right amount of asset protection, business planning, incapacity safeguards, and long-term care planning to achieve your objectives. With that lawyer’s assistance, your estate plan can be designed to fit your needs like a glove.
It’s sometimes surprising to see how people view their own estate plans. For many, the estate plan is a document that you complete, file, and forget about – as though your concerns end the moment you place your signature on that will or trust document. The reality is, though, that estate plans are not supposed to be forgotten or neglected like that. Like any other type of serious planning effort, the estate plan involves strategic goals that need to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. You can’t do that if you neglect the plan once it’s created.
There’s another problem with that approach, of course. Without a commitment to getting the documents done right the first time, you could end up with an estate plan riddled with errors, unenforceable terms, or inadequate protections. If you create it on your own, you could even end up with fundamental execution errors that render the entire plan invalid. Worse, no one would ever know until you were dead – at which point, the problem would be one that your heirs would have to try to remedy.
A good lawyer can help to avoid those post-death estate plan complications by ensuring that your plan is properly crafted and maintained until you die. That can provide you with the peace of mind that you need to know that your heirs’ inheritances are properly protected. It can also help to ensure that other important planning goals – like incapacity planning, long-term care financing, and asset protection – are also properly addressed. In short, your reliance on a competent estate planning lawyer can provide you with the assurances you need to confidently live the rest of your life without constant fear of the future.
Get the Help You Need
The fact is that we all need estate plans to secure our loved ones’ future and our own legacies. At Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC, our experienced estate plan and elder law lawyers can help you to ensure that you have the security and peace of mind you need for every aspect of your end-of-life and legacy planning needs. With the help of a Michigan estate planning lawyer, you’ll never have to wonder whether your plan will stand the test of time. To learn more about how an experienced estate planning lawyer can benefit you and your loved ones, contact us online or call us today at (989) 872-5601.