To: Our Clients and Friends
From: The Troy Law Firm
Date: April 26, 2019

Re: Your Estate Plan and Bequests to Loved Ones

I hope this letter finds you and your family well. For a variety of reasons, some recently presented in our office, I thought I would send out some information regarding estate and inheritance matters that might be of interest to you. Reason being, as the years go by, circumstances and situations change, so I am writing to identify for you some things that everyone should at least periodically review. Whether I prepared your estate plan, it was prepared by someone else, or you are simply going to allow the State of Michigan laws to control your estate at death, an “estate plan” should be reviewed on a periodic basis.

A comprehensive estate plan may include a last will and testament, a revocable living (and in some cases an irrevocable) trust, a durable power of attorney, and a patient advocate designation. Some estates require additional documents concerning life insurance, retirement plans, National Firearms Act trusts, and business succession plans, as examples. Alternatively, your estate plan may have none of the foregoing documents and instead will be controlled by the laws of the State of Michigan regarding people who die intestate (meaning simply without a will), or by jointly titled asset ownership, “transfer on death” account designations, or similar concepts.

If any one or more of the following circumstances apply to you, you certainly should review what you currently have in place:

• Marriage/divorce; new beneficiary designations for life insurance or retirement plans should be coordinated with your estate plan
• Death of a spouse or child
• Death or change in circumstances concerning named trustee(s), personal representative(s), guardian(s) or beneficiaries
• Births/adoptions and other changes in the number of your dependents and grandchildren, including the addition of or caring for a parent or adult child
• Children or grandchildren with special needs or special circumstances
• Children or grandchildren who may be too young, inexperienced, or untrustworthy to effectively manage assets that would be distributed to them upon your death
• You have an IRA, 401(k), or other qualified plan (particularly if you are nearing the age of 70 ½ years), and have named an individual beneficiary for these accounts
• You bought or sold a business, warranting a succession plan or a plan for asset distribution and reduction of the tax burden your heirs may someday face

• Changes in tax laws and significant changes in the laws concerning powers of attorney that may affect your estate plan
• You have acquired property in another state which may be subjected to a probate administration process in that state, unless such property is held by a trust or other entity that you may control
• You want to disinherit a spouse or child
• You want to protect children from a prior marriage in case you predecease your present spouse
• There has been a substantial increase or decrease in the value of your estate, or you have acquired or disposed of a substantial asset, which may warrant additional tax planning
• You desire to plan for the care and maintenance of a pet that survives your death
• There have been changes to your life or long-term care insurance coverage
• You or a family member has been hurt, injured, or has become seriously ill, and you want to change your estate plan to provide for increased financial requirements or leave assets in a trust to prevent disqualification from receiving government benefits
• A beneficiary of your estate receives Medicaid benefits and, under Michigan’s Estate Recovery Program, the State will seek repayment of such Medicaid benefits from the distribution made to the beneficiary of your estate
• You or your spouse receive or expect to receive a significant inheritance, and you desire to reduce taxes or provide creditor protection, or simply change how your assets will be distributed upon your death
• You desire to protect assets inherited by your heirs from lawsuits, divorces, and other claims against them

Even if you have not been affected by any of the events above, but you have been inattentive or remiss in considering what constitutes your existing “estate plan,” it may be appropriate to consider it, to ensure that your estate plan addresses the proper “objects of your bounty,” assets are properly funded or titled, and everything otherwise reflects your current intentions. Whether you are an existing client or not, if you have any questions regarding this letter, please feel free to call my office. I would be happy to talk with you, answer some questions or schedule a mutually agreeable date and time to further discuss your estate plan goals.



Daniel E. Chapman, Member

Translate »