'Make-A-Will Month' Attorney stresses importance of 'pre-planning'

By Philip J. Curtis

Curtis and Curtis P.C.

Do you and your family have appropriate estate plans?

A will or revocable living trust are the cornerstones on which family members and loved ones build financial security after your death.

Additionally, Durable Powers of Attorney and Patient Advocate Forms are important parts of a good plan to take care of business and health matters in the event you are disabled during your lifetime.

What are the drawbacks in not having appropriate life time and estate plans?

(1) If you become disabled and do not have a Durable Power of Attorney, it will be necessary for your family to petition the Probate Court and have a guardian and conservator appointed to handle your personal and business affairs which can be expensive and create undesired consequences.

A Durable Power of Attorney is inexpensive, and, if properly drafted, avoids the need for court involvement in the event that you are disabled;

(2) A Patient Advocate Form appoints an advocate to act on your behalf regarding medical decisions if you are unable to make those decisions yourself, and makes life easier for your family and your health-care providers;

(3) If you die without a will or an appropriately funded living trust, your assets will be distributed according to State law rather than your wishes which, in many cases, does not achieve the desired result;

(4) If you have minor children and fail to recommend an appropriate guardian and conservator for them in your will, it will be up to a judge to appoint that person without any input from you;

(5) If you die without a will or funded living trust, the Probate Court will name a personal representative to administer your affairs after your death rather than someone you appoint and know will properly carry out your wishes; and

(6) Proper planning avoids or reduces Federal Estate taxes and administration expenses.

It is obvious that having an estate plan that you develop with a knowledgeable professional is very important.

Don't compromise the well-being of your family. Contact a qualified estate planning attorney and get this important work behind you.

Curtis and Curtis, P.C. is a full service law firm located in Jackson providing legal services and advice to individuals, families and businesses throughout mid-Michigan since 1901.

See: http://www.curtiscurtislaw.com/

Published: Mon, Aug 23, 2010

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