Experienced Wills & Trusts Attorneys in Plymouth, Michigan

At Steslicki & Ghannam PLC, our Plymouth estate planning attorneys know that creating a will or trust is a personal decision. Some Michigan residents may not believe their “estate” is valuable enough to warrant the creation of a will or trust, and others may not understand which of these essential components of estate planning will meet their needs.

Wills and trusts are not one-size-fits-all solutions. They serve different purposes and cater to the needs of diverse individuals. Our lawyers are committed to helping you and your family understand which of these vital legal documents—potentially both—will provide the most comprehensive protection for you and your loved ones, both now and in the future.

Wills & Trusts Attorneys Law in Polymouth

What is the Difference Between a Will and Trust?

There are multiple differences between wills and trusts, and each serves various purposes. However, the most simple differentiating factor is when they are executed.

A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets should be distributed after their death. It allows the person making the will (testator) to specify who will inherit their property, appoint guardians for minor children, and designate an executor to oversee the distribution of assets.

A trust is a legal arrangement in which one party (the grantor) transfers ownership of assets to another party (the trustee) to manage those assets on behalf of designated beneficiaries. Trusts can be used to manage assets during the grantor’s lifetime, upon their death, or both. They can serve various purposes, such as avoiding probate, providing for minor children or beneficiaries with special needs, minimizing estate taxes, and protecting assets from creditors.

The decision to use a will, a trust, or both depends on individual circumstances, goals, and preferences. Our skilled Plymouth wills and trusts attorneys can help you determine the best approach for your estate plan. Contact us today to learn more.

Who Needs a Will or Trust in Michigan?

While the need for a will or trust depends on individual circumstances, there are some general guidelines on who may benefit from having these essential, legally binding documents in place.

They include:

  • Adults with Assets

Any adult who owns assets, regardless of their value, can benefit from having a will or trust. These legal documents allow individuals to specify how their assets should be distributed upon their death, ensuring that their wishes are carried out and their loved ones are provided for.

  • Parents with Minor Children

Parents with minor children should have a will to designate guardians for their children in the event of their death. A will allows parents to specify who should care for their children and manage their assets until they reach adulthood.

  • Individuals with Specific Wishes

Individuals who have specific wishes regarding the distribution of their assets, such as leaving bequests to charities, providing for beloved pets, or making arrangements for the care of a disabled family member, can benefit from having a will or trust to ensure that their wishes are honored.

  • Business Owners

Business owners may benefit from having a trust to protect their business interests and ensure a smooth transition of ownership upon their death. A trust can help avoid probate and provide privacy for sensitive business matters.

  • Individuals with Complex Estates

Individuals with complex estates, including multiple properties, investments, business interests, or assets held in different states, may benefit from having a trust to streamline the administration of their estate and minimize estate taxes.

  • Individuals Concerned About Probate

Some people wish to avoid the probate process, which can be time-consuming, costly, and subject to public scrutiny. A trust can help avoid probate by transferring assets directly to beneficiaries outside of the probate process.

If you have questions about which estate planning tools are right for you and your family, contact our dedicated wills and trusts lawyers in Plymouth today to review your circumstances, goals, and preferences. We can help you determine whether a will, trust, or both is right for you so you can have the peace of mind of knowing your wishes are documented and legally binding. Call us today to learn more.

What Details Are Included in Wills and Trusts?

Wills and trusts are legal documents that outline how a person’s assets should be distributed and managed after their death. While both documents serve similar purposes, they contain different details and provisions, and are unique to each of our client’s circumstances.

Details included in wills:

  • Identification of the Testator

The process begins with identifying the testator (you), including your name, address, and other personal information.

  • Appointment of Executor

You appoint an executor, also known as a personal representative, to administer your estate after death. The executor is responsible for carrying out the instructions in the will, including distributing assets to beneficiaries and paying debts and taxes.

  • Disposition of Assets

The will specifies how your assets should be distributed among beneficiaries. This may include specific bequests (this person gets this asset) or general distributions (the remainder of my estate to be divided equally among my children).

  • Guardianship of Minor Children

If you have minor children, the will may designate guardians to care for them in the event of your death.

  • Funeral and Burial Instructions

The will may include instructions for your funeral and burial arrangements, including preferences for burial or cremation and any specific wishes regarding the funeral service.

Details included in trusts:

  • Identification of the Grantor

The trust document begins with the identification of the grantor (you), who is the person creating the trust and transferring assets into it.

  • Appointment of Trustee

You appoint a trustee to manage the trust assets according to the terms of the trust document. The trustee has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust beneficiaries. The trust document may designate a successor trustee to take over management of the trust assets if the original trustee is unable or unwilling to serve.

  • Asset Transfer

The trust document specifies which assets are being transferred into the trust and how those assets should be managed and distributed.

  • Beneficiary Designation

The trust identifies the beneficiaries who will receive distributions from the trust assets. Beneficiaries may include individuals, charities, or other entities.

  • Trust Terms and Conditions

The trust outlines the terms and conditions governing the management and distribution of trust assets. This may include instructions for asset management, distribution schedules, and any restrictions on beneficiary access to trust funds.

  • Revocability or Irrevocability

Depending on your preferences, the trust may be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be modified or revoked during your lifetime, while an irrevocable trust typically cannot be changed once it is established.

Contact Our Skilled Wills and Trusts Attorneys in Plymouth Today

If you are unsure what type of estate planning tools are right for you and your family, contact our skilled wills and trusts attorneys in Plymouth today to discuss your unique goals. These essential documents can be customized to meet your specific needs to ensure your current and future goals are aligned and protected.

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