It can be overwhelming to start an estate plan. You have a lot of important decisions to make, so this guide breaks down 3 important roles you need to consider and how to make these difficult decisions.
Name a Personal Representative
A personal representative is sometimes referred to as an executor. This person is primarily responsible for handling your will.
You will need to name a personal representative in your will. This person is responsible for carrying out the duties and responsibilities imposed by law relating to your estate, such as taking care of any debts, filing a tax return, and distributing assets.
What to consider when naming a personal representative: Is this person financially savvy? Are they organized? Is this person trustworthy and will they recognize the seriousness of the job? Do they know their own limitations and know when to ask a professional for help or advice?
Name a Trustee if You Need a Trust
If you want a trust, you will need to select someone to carry out your trust. This role is called a "trustee" in Michigan. Your trustee will be responsible for properly managing and investing assets, distributing your property, filing taxes, and more. A trustee may share some similar and related responsibilities with your Michigan personal representative or executor. However, a trustee's responsibilities will often last much longer (even years if you are setting up a trust in Michigan for children or grandchildren).
What to consider when naming a trustee: Do you want your spouse to maintain control over property upon your death? Do you have a blended family (if so, contact a Michigan wills and trusts attorney to discuss selecting a proper trustee)? Is the trustee financially savvy? If the trustee is also receiving an inheritance under the trust, will it cause potential conflict and strife among the beneficiaries? Do they know when to ask for help? Are they comfortable working with other professionals, such as CPAs, attorneys, and financial advisors?
Name a Guardian for Minor Children
If you have minor children, naming a guardian should be a priority. A guardian will take on the primary care of your children in your absence and fill an incredibly important role in their daily lives.
What to consider when naming a guardian: Do you share the same or similar values? Are they financially stable? Does your child already have a close relationship with them? How will your child be impacted by relocating? Do you like and trust their spouse? Are they willing to take all of your children?
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