We understand that planning end of life decisions can be a sensitive and difficult subject for you or your loved ones. Yet, without proper estate planning, you leave the distribution of your money, your property and your other assets completely up to the State.
We have the compassion and the knowledge to help you or your loved ones make these important decisions, in a comfortable and caring environment – so that your final wishes are certain to be carried out in the way you desire.
Trusts are an excellent vehicle for ensuring that your wealth is transferred – with complete certainty and safety – to the right person or people at the right time. Trusts are also exceptional devices avoiding the costs and delays of Probate, and for ensuring that you and your heirs receive the best tax treatment.
Careful estate planning ensures that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes when you are gone. Today, many people put in place a plan that allows their heirs to avoid administration through the Probate Court altogether through the use of Trusts.
By properly employing living trusts and joint ownership we can help your heirs avoid the long delays and substantial expense of going through Probate. There are also many tax benefits to utilizing Trusts and avoiding Probate, and your Estate will not have to be approved and administered by the Probate Court.
Living or Revocable Trusts
A Living Trust (also called a Revocable Trust) is a document that transfers assets to your heirs while you are still alive. However, you (or someone you appoint) serves as the “trustee” who controls the assets and retains the right to amend (change) the terms of the transfer at any time. By putting your assets into this type of “revocable trust” you avoid probate administration of assets, as well as the substantial associated costs and delays.
Some advantages of Living Trusts include:
- Avoidance of Probate
- Minimizing Federal gift & estate taxes
- Proper management of assets by a trusted person
- Timing or delaying asset distribution until you feel heirs are ready
- Limiting control a surviving spouse has over property
- Making use of charitable gift arrangements
- Providing your beneficiaries with a lifetime income
- Providing your beneficiaries with income over specified periods of time
Property and assets that are “jointly owned” automatically pass to the surviving party upon the other person’s death, and do not have to be administered or transferred through the Probate Court. Joint Ownership is accomplished by changing a deed, a title, or other document of ownership to include both parties.
In many cases this is a very safe and effective way to avoid Probate. However, there can also be certain very substantial risks to joint ownership. If one of the joint-owners has debts or other liabilities, they may be put the other party’s financial interests at risk. Only an experienced estate planning attorney will be able to advise you if joint ownership is in your best personal and financial interests.
The goal of estate planning is always to avoid any uncertainty, ambiguity or contention when distributing the assets of a loved one. Unfortunately, circumstances occasionally arise where disagreement arises between potential heirs – despite the best of intentions.
In some circumstances, the terms of a poorly drafted Trust may be unclear or unenforceable. In other situations, a greedy or uncooperative relative may be trying to get “more than their share”. Whatever the cause of a “fight” over the terms of a trust, these matters can be very emotionally difficult and financially draining.
When an trust is contested, our firm has the probate experience and the litigation skill to assert your rights, protect your interests and ensure that you are not deprived of your fair inheritance.
Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust (also called a”Supplemental Needs Trust”) enables a person under a physical or mental disability, or an individual with a chronic or acquired illness, to have, held in Trust for his or her benefit, an unlimited amount of assets.
A Special Needs Trust also provides a way for a person with a disability to receive financial support while remaining eligible for SSI and Medicaid. A person called a trustee (whom you select) administers the Special Needs Trust. The person with a disability for whom the trust is established is called the beneficiary. You may appoint a trusted friend or family member as trustee, or you may also appoint a banker, lawyer or other professional to be the trustee responsible for administering the trust.
If you have a loved one who has a mental disability or a physical disability or illness, a Special Needs Trust is an excellent vehicle to ensure that they will always have the support that they need – even if you are no longer here to care for them.
We can draft a Special Needs Trust for you and your loved one, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your family member’s unique personal needs and health care requirements will always be met.
Our firm has handled numerous trusts, saving our clients money in taxes and probate expenses. Our experienced attorneys can put together a unique estate plan that ensures that your financial needs and personal wishes are met. And, if you have suffered a loss, we can handle the administration process for you at this difficult time, with patience, compassion and skill.
The experienced probate & estate planning lawyers at Lakeside Legal Group have handled hundreds of probate matters. They will offer you compassionate advice & knowledgeable representation at affordable rates, to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your rights are always protected.
For a FREE CONSULTATION with an experienced probate attorney, call Lakeside Legal Group today: 586-469-0900.
Lakside Legal Group is a full service Michigan law firm providing representation in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County and St. Clair County, including: Mt. Clemens, Warren, Sterling Heights, Madison Heights, Eastepointe, Saint Clair Shores, Roseville, Shelby Township, Chesterfield Township, Macomb Township, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe, Clinton Township, Harrison Township, Utica, Romeo, New Baltimore, Algonac, Armada, Port Huron, Imlay City, Rochester, Troy, Hazel Park, Clawson, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Pontiac, Beverly Hills, Oak Park, Detroit, Southfield and Royal Oak.