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Estate Planning Documents You Should Consider

28-Jul-2011 Written by Pat Rudden, VP-Trust

UP-TO-DATE WILL

If you don't have one, you should investigate your particular circumstances to determine whether or not you need a will.  Many people rely on joint ownership of assets to take the place of a will.  This is not always an appropriate substitute.  Also, many people do not realize that the laws of the State of Michigan might determine who would inherit your estate if you do not have a will.

If you have minor children, it is especially important to name a guardian for them in your will.


TRUST DOCUMENT

A trust document can also be used to distribute the assets of your estate, but it has additional benefits over using a will such as:
  • Trusts can be used to minimize or eliminate estate taxes for people with substantial assets.
  • Trusts do not have to be supervised by the probate court, saving legal fees, minimizing the time needed to administer an estate, and offering more privacy.  Also, there is less opportunity for a disgruntled heir to object to the proceedings.
Most importantly, a trust can become effective during an owner's lifetime, offering protection for assets during a period of incapacity.


DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTH CARE

You can grant someone the authority to make medical decisions for you, if through accident or illness, you become unable to communicate.  You can also spell out the kind of care you would prefer and any medical procedures you would not want undertaken.


DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR FINANCIAL MATTERS

You can grant someone the authority to handle your financial affairs.  You can also choose to make this authority become effective only in the event of your disability.



For more information on any of these documents or for advice on estate planning issues, feel free to contact our trust officers:  Ben Zyburt, Tom Humphrey, or Rich Ledy in Marquette or Pat Rudden in Escanaba.



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