Shifman & Carlson, P.C. works with clients to create estate plans that meet all of their needs and desires, from distributing property according to client's wishes to minimizing probate costs. We accomplish this by offering a holistic approach to estate planning that prioritizes our clients’ estate planning goals and values. Once we understand our client’s goals, we then work from there to determine the best method for achieving those goals, so our clients get the peace of mind that comes with knowing their estate will be distributed exactly as they wish.
Whether your estate plan will require a simple will or a complicated trust, Shifman & Carlson, P.C. has the tools you need to properly plan your estate, no matter what estate planning goals you have.
At the very minimum, every person should have a will in place that provides instructions on how their assets are to be distributed upon their passing. While wills do not avoid the probate process, they still serve as a vehicle for you to choose how your assets will be distributed, rather than the government. Many people are not aware that intestacy laws, which apply if the deceased does not have a will, do not distribute property according to the deceased's wishes. For example, if you are a married person without children and one or both of your in-laws are alive and your spouse passes, your in-laws will receive a significant portion of your spouse's estate, regardless of whether your spouse's last wish was for you to receive the entire estate. Intestacy laws also have similar provisions regarding children.
By having a will, you can avoid these problems and have your property distributed in the manner you choose. Additionally, having a properly drafted will minimizes probate costs and allows your family to have quicker access to much needed funds.
Shifman & Carlson, P.C. uses trusts in a variety of ways to meet our clients' needs and goals. Trusts are versatile agreements that can be used to achieve almost any estate planning goal. They can be used to avoid or reduce taxes, avoid probate, protect your assets, provide for beneficiaries, protect your assets from your beneficiaries’ creditors, or benefit a charity or institution. In addition, trusts can be structured so that you can put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed when you pass away.
At Shifman & Carlson, we believe that having a durable power of attorney is essential to every estate plan, and we offer these agreements as standard parts of our estate planning process. A durable power of attorney agreement is an estate planning tool that allows you to choose who will manage your affairs in the event you are no longer able to do so. Not only do they allow you to choose who will manage your finances, but they also allow you to choose how they will be able to manage your affairs. Durable Power of Attorney agreements are not only for those nearing the end of their life, as these documents operate in the event of sudden disability or incapacity, even if such an event is temporary in nature.
If you suddenly become disabled or incapacitated and you do not have a durable power of attorney in place, your family will have to petition the courts for the authority to manage your affairs. These proceedings are costly, and your family will have to prove to the court that you are no longer able to manage your affairs. If there is disagreement amongst your family members as to who should take care of you, the judge may appoint someone that you may not have ever wanted.
A patient advocate appointment is another important estate planning tool that we encourage all of our clients to pursue. Similar to a durable power of attorney, a patient advocate appointment designates a person who is charged with handling your medical decisions. In order to make a patient advocate appointment, you must choose who will be in charge of handling medical decisions for you, and they must accept the appointment in order to have authority. These appointments can be registered to the Michigan Peace of Mind Registry, which will allow your doctor to immediately know who to contact in the event you are no longer able to make your own medical decisions.
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