What to Discuss with Your Estate Planning Attorney Before Hiring Him or Her

No matter your age, creating an estate plan is an essential aspect of financial and family responsibility. For many folks, this is one of the most complex legal matters you will ever handle. It is vital that you find the right attorney to assist with your estate plan.

You will find that many lawyers advertise estate planning services as just one part of the practice. While this “one-stop-shopping” might seem like a good idea, you want to have someone handling your estate who focuses on estate planning. The fact is that setting up your estate involves multiple aspects of the law, including elder law and probate considerations.

Ask any prospective attorney how much of their practice includes elder law and estate planning. You want to hire someone who devotes at least half of their time to estate planning. Any less, and it is likely that they will lack the full scope of knowledge needed to plan your estate in the most equitable manner.

Although most attorneys can legally draft such documents, there are nuances to the law that can make a big difference in the price you or your loved ones pay regarding your estate. While you are discussing their experience with estate planning, inquire about other aspects of law relevant to your situation. These often include government benefits, elder law, business, real estate, taxation, and probate.

Another thing you want to know is if the attorney has experience with probating estates or if their focus is on helping clients to avoid probate. Fully-funded trust-based estate plans can save your loved ones a considerable amount of time and money.

In addition to finding out the general practice of the attorney, you should inquire whether they help you properly title your assets, such as your real properties and financial accounts. You need a lawyer capable of helping you to fund your trust, and a willingness to work with you to do so.

Before selecting an estate planning attorney, you should also ask about their continuing education. As with many other professions, it is important to have a professional who engages in learning, even if your state does not require it. Laws change, and the way to handle legal documents along with it. You deserve an attorney who is abreast of the latest in estate planning and elder law.

If you are satisfied with the answers you have received up to this point; you can then ask what type of preparation you need to do for your appointment. A reputable and reliable estate planning attorney will want comprehensive information regarding your properties, beneficiaries and more. Being properly prepared will expedite the process.

You deserve the peace of mind that comes with proper estate planning. Asking these questions will help you to find the right law firm to assist with the drafting and execution of all of your estate related documents, from preparing the documents to ensuring the right beneficiaries receive your estate.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Michigan Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Einheuser Legal, P.C. is an estate planning law firm in Bingham Farms, Michigan. We help families set up wills and living trusts. Attorney Michael Einheuser is an experienced estate planning lawyer serving residents in Bingham Farms, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Southfield, West Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Township. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 248-398-4665.

An Introduction to Michigan’s New Asset Protection Trust

Trusts have always been excellent estate planning tools. Your beneficiaries can enjoy all kinds of protections once you are gone, including protection from remarriages, divorce, or creditors. Even though beneficiaries could enjoy access to the trust’s assets for their needs, their creditors or their divorcing or new spouses couldn’t in many cases.

However, these protections weren’t available to you during your lifetime. While you’re still well and alive, you enjoyed complete access to the assets in your trust and by extension so do any creditors.

The situation has however changed since December 5, 2016 with the introduction of Michigan’s new asset protection trust act known as the Qualified Dispositions in Trusts Act. The Act took effect on February 5, 2017. With the introduction of the act, Michigan has joined 16 other states that already allow Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs).

Domestic asset protection trusts are irrevocable trusts that can shield assets from the claims of an individual’s creditors, provided that the individual meets the particular legal requirements. Individuals who are worried about potential creditor exposure, notably physicians, executives, and business owners, need to consider using Domestic Asset Protection Trusts (DAPTs).

Before the introduction of Michigan’s new asset protection trust act, people who wanted to use a DAPT had to first transfer their assets to out-of-state trustees in jurisdictions such as Nevada, Alaska, or Delaware. However, the introduction of the new law means that assets can be transferred to a person that resides in Michigan, such as a Michigan professional, corporate trustee, or a family member.

The transferor can never be the trustee since he or she can only be a beneficiary of the trust. However, the transferor may still retain rights to:

– Veto distributions from the trust

– Replace or remove trustees

– Receive income from the trust

– Receive discretionary distributions of the income or principal

– Direct investment decisions of the trust

– Receive unitrust payments or annuity from charitable remainder trusts

– Receive annuity from the trust not exceeding 5 percent of the initial value of the trust

– Receive unitrust payments or annuity from a grantor retained annuity trust

– Direct the distribution of assets upon the death of the transferor provided that there is no transfer of assets to the creditors of the transferor’s estate, the transferor’s estate, the transferor’s creditors, or the transferor.

If adequately funded and established, the Act protects the assets the transferor has relocated to the trust from the transferor’s creditors upon expiration of a 2-year period starting the date the assets were relocated except particular situations involving fraudulent concealment. A longer statute of limitation may apply in the case of bankruptcy.

Final Thoughts

The introduction of the Qualified Dispositions in Trusts Act is good news for Michigan residents since it offers numerous asset protection benefits. If you have any questions regarding the Act or any other information regarding estate planning, you need to find a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney to help you.

Schedule Your Free Consultation with Our Michigan Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

Einheuser Legal, P.C. is an estate planning law firm in Bingham Farms, Michigan. We help families set up wills and living trusts. Attorney Michael Einheuser is an experienced estate planning lawyer serving residents in Bingham Farms, Troy, Farmington Hills, Rochester Hills, Southfield, West Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Township. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 248-398-4665.