1. You Decide Who is in Charge of Your Estate
When you designate a Personal Representative, a Last Will and Testament allows you to determine in advance who will carry out your instructions after your death. Without designating a Personal Representative, court rules determine who will be responsible for settling your estate. Failing to designate a Personal Representative adds to the cost of probate and can substantially delay who will carry out your wishes. Under Michigan law, the probate court will automatically appoint the person you select as Personal Representative without a hearing. Contrary to belief, a Will does not avoid probate but it’s better than dying “intestate,” that is, without a Will and leaving it to the court to decide who is in charge and how to divide your assets.
2. You Decide Who Will Take Care of Your Minor or Disabled Children
A Will allows you to designate who will take care of your minor or disabled children. Without a Will, it’s up to the court to decide who will act as guardian or conservator of your children. It’s important to name someone you believe shares your life values and who will meet your children’s needs in the manner you prefer.
3. You Decide How Your Estate Will be Distributed
If you die without a Will, your estate may not be distributed the way you intend. This is especially true in blended families. If you or your spouse have children from prior relationships, without a Will your spouse or children may not receive what you intend. A Will is a method to determine what you want the outcome of your estate to be, otherwise it’s up to the court to decide for you based upon the intestate rules provided under Michigan law.
4. A Will Allows You to Give Specific Instructions Without Losing Control of Your Assets
It may be tempting to put someone else’s name on your assets “just in case something happens” but joint ownership arrangements can put you in a position to lose control over your assets both before and after your death. In some cases, the best way to make a specific gift of property or other assets is to include those directions in your Will. That way, there’s no confusion about what you intend.
Let us help you achieve the peace of mind that your affairs are in order. We have a proven process to protect you and your family.
Starting the planning process is easy. Give us call at (231) 799-4993 to set up a complimentary Get Acquainted Call.