Michigan Estate Planning Attorneys
At Witzke Berry Carter & Wander PLLC, we are, first and foremost, Michigan estate planning lawyers. Our approach is a holistic one. We listen closely to our clients to gain a thorough understanding of their overall situation, most pressing concerns, short and long-term goals, and hopes for a lasting legacy. Then, we create a comprehensive plan designed to address every concern and achieve every goal. In short, we don’t just prepare documents—we help you prepare for whatever the future may hold.
As Michigan estate planning attorneys, what can we help you accomplish? Here is just a partial list:
Prepare for the possibility of incapacity. If you were to become incapacitated, you would not be able to manage your affairs. Without proper estate planning, someone would have to petition the court to become your legal guardian or conservator. This process is often called living probate. This can be avoided through proper estate planning, such as the use of revocable living trusts and powers of attorney.
Provide for your medical care through the use of Michigan medical powers of attorney and Michigan living wills. Through proper estate planning, you can appoint a loved one to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Think of the Terri Schiavo case down in Florida, where there was a long, drawn-out, public court battle to determine whether she should be removed from life support. Advanced planning prior to incapacity lets you appoint a loved one to make these decisions in the event you cannot. Tools to accomplish this include patient advocate designations, living wills, and HIPAA compliant forms.
Avoid probate. Many clients desire to avoid the pitfalls of the Michigan probate system. Through proper counseling and the use of revocable living trusts, we can help you avoid this time consuming, expensive, and stressful process.
Provide for loved ones, including minor children. In Michigan, children become adults and can inherit property at age 18. For example, if you have life insurance naming your child a beneficiary, that child can inherit the full sum at age 18. A well-designed estate plan can use trusts and other tools to protect that inheritance from misuse and poor decision making, whether at age 18 or beyond.
Reduce taxes. We can help you minimize Federal Estate taxes, as well as federal and state income tax, by properly handling your retirement accounts.
Ensure your pets will be cared for if you are no longer able to do so. As a pet owner, you have an incredibly strong bond with your pet and want to make sure your pet will be taken care of if something happens to you. Through the use of Michigan pet trusts and Michigan animal care trusts, we can ensure that your pets will be well cared for should you become incapacitated and after you pass away.
These are just some of the estate planning goals we can help you accomplish. Contact us today to discuss your unique situation and learn how we can assist you and your family.