We use a different definition of estate planning than most attorneys who do estate planning. In our practice, “Estate Planning”, is defined as:
- I want to control my property while I’m alive and well;
- Plan for me and my loved ones if I become mentally disabled;
- And when I’m gone, I want to give: what I have to whom I want, when I want, the way I want;
- And if I can, I want to save taxes, fees, costs, all at the lowest predictable overall cost to me and those I love.
We are committed to estate plans that work. The blunt truth is that most estate plans don’t work. It may not be necessarily a legal or technical reason why an estate plan doesn’t work. If what you want to happen doesn’t end up happening upon your disability or death, then that is an estate plan that didn’t work.
What makes an estate plan work?
Working with counselling oriented estate planning attorneys, maintaining and updating your plan, and proper asset ownership. Is your estate plan at risk of not working? Take our Estate Planning Risk Barometer.
We design and draft will based estate plans and fully funded trust based estate plans for everyone. If you are over the age of 18 and mentally competent, we will design an estate plan that can work for you and your loved ones.
We design will based estate plans that include wills, financial and health care powers of attorney, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) authorizations, appointments of guardian of minor and disabled children, DocuBank emergency card subscriptions and assistance with asset titling, authorized signers and beneficiary or payable-on-death designations.
We design fully funded trust based estate plans that include revocable living trusts, wills, financial and health care powers of attorney, HIPAA authorizations, appointments of guardian of minor and disabled children, living wills, anatomical gifts, certificates of trust, funding documents, funding assistance, DocuBank emergency card subscriptions and may include other planning documents.
Because we are committed to estate plans that work, we assist you in fully funding your trust based estate plan.
Trust funding is completely and correctly:
- Titling your assets in the name of your trust or in individual names;
- Designating your trust and individuals as asset beneficiaries; and
- Adding your trust as an insured party on your homeowners and other insurance policies.
For our fully funded trust based estate plans, we offer enrollment in our LifePlan Essential Estate Plan Maintenance Program. Our LifePlan program offers our clients an annual check-up to maintain and update their estate plans on a regular basis.
Included in all of our estate plans is a one year subscription to DocuBank emergency card. With DocuBank, copies of your durable power of attorney for health care, living will, anatomical gift or other health care directives along with your personal information, allergies, medical conditions, emergency contacts information and prescriptions if you elect, are kept on a secure server. When needed, all of this information can be accessed 24/7/365 anywhere in the world with your DocuBank emergency card so long as there is a computer internet connection or a phone and a fax.
For taxable estates, advanced planning may be appropriate if reduction of federal estate taxes is one of your goals. Advance planning for taxable estates may include irrevocable charitable trusts, irrevocable demand right trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts, family limited liability companies and family foundations.
We also counsel charitably inclined individuals and charitable organizations on a variety of charitable and planned giving methods and techniques. These methods and techniques have included outright gifts, gifts in trust, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, community foundation gifts and creating charitable organizations, public foundations, private family foundations and supporting organizations.
Special Needs Planning
If you have a disabled loved one who is or may receive income or asset based governmental benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), special planning should be considered in order to preserve benefits and enhance the quality of life of your disabled loved one.
Guardianships and Conservatorships
We also represent individuals and families in need of guardians or conservators of loved ones who are legally incapacitated or developmentally disabled.
We counsel successor trustees in the administration of trusts both during a mentally disabled trustmaker’s lifetime and after the trustmaker’s death. So long as the trust is governed by Michigan law, we can counsel successor trustees, no matter where they are located. With telephone, email and overnight curriers, we have been able to assist successor trustees all over the United States and even outside the country.
We represent personal representatives in the administration of probate estates anywhere in Michigan. We coordinate with attorneys in other states with probate death administration in those other states when needed.