Estate Planning Information

We so often hear that hard work is the path to achieving the American dream. But retaining as much of our earnings as possible for our family can be a challenge. An experienced estate planning attorney can work with you to assure that your hard work results in the accumulation of assets that are protected from liabilities. Asset protection planning can insure that tax liabilities are minimized for your family after you have gone. Contact an estate planning attorney today to get started.”

At Gudeman & Associates, P.C., we provide effective and personalized estate planning to our clients. Whether you need a simple will or a complex trust, we develop an estate plan with our clients’ concerns and best interests in mind. When you work with our Michigan estate planning attorneys we take the time to listen to your goals and develop an estate plan that protects your assets and your family. The following page is intended to provide general information about probate and estate planning. For information specific to your situation contact our law office to schedule an appointment.

In our practice we have found that many people who wish to avoid probate often deed their property to their children. However, doing so can result in serious consequences. A child may have the misfortune of losing a job, getting a divorce, or needing extensive medical care, all of which may lead to filing bankruptcy. When bankruptcy is filed the transferred property may be foreclosed upon, sold or repossessed. You can avoid this problem with an inter vivos trust (a living trust). A living trust is a trust you create during your life time that places the property in trust for your heir or beneficiary. This type of trust enables you to remain on the property and continue to control the property during your lifetime.

Contact Michigan probate and estate lawyers who care,Gudeman & Associates, P.C.; dedicated to serving clients and their estate needs.

Estate Planning – An Overview

Estate planning allows an individual to plan for his or her lifetime objectives and to provide direction about the disposition of his or her assets after death. Estate planning can include wills and trusts as well as powers of attorney and healthcare directives. Estate planning is impacted by state and federal law, and any individual may find that more elaborate or creative legal means are necessary for his or her situation. Some of these more complex techniques include trusts, family limited partnerships (FLPs), and limited liability companies (LLCs). An estate planning lawyer can be an essential ally in assuring that your estate planning goals are understood and carried out. If you have estate planning-related legal questions, call our firm today to schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.

Asset Protection and Estate Planning

An important goal of estate planning is to protect income and assets from creditors’ claims and tax collection. While many people think asset protection involves shady or dishonest techniques, there are many ways to protect financial reserves, personal property, real estate, and other assets for retirement or for future generations. In addition to federal and state laws that exempt certain types of property from creditors’ claims, taxation, or both, there are numerous estate planning tools that may be able to shield assets from future creditors and reduce or eliminate estate or income taxation. If you are interested in working with an estate planning attorney to create a plan to protect your assets, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

Estate Planning Needs of the Elderly

Elder law deals with the legal, financial, and health needs of senior citizens. The country’s average age is advancing all the time, and now even baby-boomers are dealing with health issues and legal concerns they had not anticipated. In addition to estate planning, elder law attorneys also help with preparing for long-term healthcare needs, applying for government programs, addressing financial fraud, combating physical abuse, and establishing guardianships and conservatorships. If you have elder law or estate planning-related legal questions, call our firm today to schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer.

Wills and Trusts

A will is a document that tells a person’s family or heirs and the courts how to distribute his or her money and property. A will is a basic estate planning tool, and a current and valid will is the best way to make sure your property is distributed according to your wishes and your family is taken care of after you’re gone. Many people also use trusts in conjunction with their will, as an independent estate planning tool, or both. Whether you want to prepare your first will or you are interested in updating your estate plan or exploring trusts, an estate planning lawyer can help you tailor a plan to your needs.

Powers of Attorney

A power of attorney is a legal document in which a person (the principal) designates and authorizes another person (the agent or attorney-in-fact) to transact business or make certain decisions on his or her behalf. When a power of attorney is in effect, the agent essentially steps into the shoes of the principal and makes decisions that are legally binding on the principal. Powers of attorney can grant broad, general authority (known as a general power of attorney) or they can limit the attorney-in-fact’s power to act on behalf of the principal to particular situations (known as a special power of attorney). Because there are many different types of powers of attorney available to address a variety of situations, powers of attorney are extremely useful estate planning tools. If you are interested in drafting a power of attorney, contact our firm to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney.

Estate Planning Resource Links

How Much Estate Tax Will You Pay?
This estate tax calculator adds up many different types of assets to get an estimated estate tax figure for your current estate.

Federal Estate Tax Laws
The Federal Estate Tax laws start at Section 2001 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Federal Gift Tax Laws
The Federal Gift Tax laws start at Section 2501 of the Internal Revenue Code. The estate and gift tax laws should be looked at together because there are many overlapping provisions; state laws should also be considered.

Social Security Administration Retirement Planner
The federal Social Security Administration provides retirement planning and disability benefit information from this Web site.

Administration on Aging—Resource Directory for Older People
This directory helps senior citizens and their families find helpful organizations and programs for their specific needs.

Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning

Q: What is a will?

A: A will is a written legal document with instructions for distributing an individual’s assets after his or her death. A will must be formally executed as required by state law to be legally valid and enforceable.

Q: How can a person change his or her will?

A: A will is typically valid and effective until it is revoked, destroyed, or invalidated by writing a new will. Alterations to an existing will, such as crossing out language or adding a new provision, do not usually meet the legal requirements for executing a valid will and do not affect the terms of an existing will; however, changes or additions to an existing will can be made by codicil. A codicil is a document executed in compliance with applicable state law that modifies an existing will or codicil.