Estate Planning documents are not just for the deceased. If there are investments or surplus funds that you would like to earmark for your family or perhaps those members with special needs, a trust can allocate assets to them during your lifetime, while also providing for your own needs. Creating joint ownership of assets such as bank accounts, titles and deeds are other ways to accomplish these goals, depending on your circumstances.
As life brings unexpected contingencies, such as divorce, disputes involving creditors, and other legal concerns, these planning vehicles are excellent ways to protect your hard earned assets from being taken or seized. They may also assist during times when you are in a condition compromising your ability to make decisions. Finally, this planning can also ensure the destination for your assets even after you are gone, which helps to eliminate the need for probate court costs.
When we do eventually pass on, the use of a will can add to a trust and further devise assets that will not only ensure your intentions are met, but also minimize probate court involvement.
Your child is finally off to college! But with all of the concerns about adjusting to a new life away from home, families often forget that once a child turns 18, he or she is considered an adult under the law. For example, once 18 years of age, hospitals and medical facilities may limit what information they can provide to the family without consent of the patient. The concern due to this requisite confidentiality is that parents or family members may not be able to make life decisions for their loved ones at crucial moments when the young adults (as patients) are unable to voice their wishes themselves. Hence, young adults can take advantage of caring parents or family members by assigning them to be his or her Medical Power of Attorney to make such vital decisions concerning their health.
The same holds true for scholastic information when children attend college. When students reach the age of 18, colleges and other higher learning institutions may not allow parents to inquire about or view their child's grades without the student's express consent; regardless of who may be paying the student's tuition. As such, the child's records are confidential even to their parents. Therefore, students may also consider making their parents their power of attorney so that they can monitor his or her performance and help guide the student through their education; besides merely paying for it.
Kevin Gee is an experienced Michigan attorney ready to assist you with your business and estate planning needs.