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Four Things that Could Happen if You Do Not Have an Estate Plan

There are a surprising number of people that pass each year without an estate plan. Unfortunately, many people have no idea of what might happen if they fail to make even the most minimal of estate plans. This article explores some of the more common problems that come to pass in situations where there has been a complete failure to plan.

The Court makes decisions regarding your interests through a guardian or conservator.

Without a power of attorney or the designation of a patient advocate it is likely that a Judge will appoint someone to make your end of life decisions. The person appointed would depend on number of circumstances. While it is likely that a family member, such as a spouse or child ,would be named as guardian or conservator, there is also a chance that someone you don’t know, such as a social worker employed by a hospital or care facility could be appointed. Ultimately, the Court will have control over the person that is named as a guardian or conservator if there is no plan in place and you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself.

The Court decides where your children are placed without your input.

Similarly, a Judge will make decisions regarding who your children are placed with if no selection or recommendation is made beforehand. It goes without saying that minor children need to have someone named to look after them if there is a death or disability of a parent or parents. While Judge’s will often look to grandparents or aunts and uncles, that placement is not automatic. Under certain circumstances the court may find that family members are not qualified or able to care for the children and in those circumstances the children may be placed with the foster care system. For this reason alone it is imperative that people with minor children have at least a minimum estate plan in place.

Your children may inherit a large sum of money before they are able to control it.

Another problematic result of parents passing before their children reach a mature age can be the inheritance of large sums of money or assets. Many clients express reservations about their children receiving large sums of cash or assets before they reach their late 20’s or early 30’s. Again, the only way to prevent children from receiving large sums upon the death of a parent is to have an appropriate plan in place.

You lose control over how your assets are distributed upon your death.

Without an estate plan you will also lose control over how your assets are distributed upon your death. Under Michigan law the distribution of assets is according to a specific plan which may or may not be in accordance with your wishes. Any desire to provide a gift to a charity or cause important to you will be lost without putting a plan in place. Perhaps even more importantly any decisions that may have been made to disinherit a child or grandchild will not be followed without a specific plan in place.

Request a Consultation Today

The attorneys at Penzien & McBride PLLC have extensive experience with estate planning. We are always ready to help any clients that might be in the process of either getting started with an estate plan or trying to complete a plan that has already been started. If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation, feel free to contact us today.

To schedule your case consultation with one of our dedicated estate planning attorneys, please call (586) 690-4400. We are here to listen to your concerns and can provide you with the efficient counsel you need to protect your best interests.

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