Helping you set up a will, trust, power of attorney, and more
For many people, estate planning is easy to put off. No one really wants to think about what will happen after they pass away or become disabled. However, establishing a cohesive plan for your assets and property is an important step for people of all ages.
At the Law Office of Cery Kennedy, I help you attain the peace of mind you need and deserve, assisting with a wide range of estate planning matters. Whether you need to set up a will or trust, durable power of attorney, or outline your wishes as they relate to your medical care, you can rest assured that you will receive honest, upfront, and dependable legal guidance.
Throughout the process, I listen carefully to your concerns and goals, delivering exceptional advice and a cohesive strategy based on your unique needs and situation. I offer flexible office hours to fit your busy schedule.
Navigating the estate planning process in Michigan
No two estate plans are the same, and the approach you take depends on the value of your estate, how you would like to distribute your assets after your passing, and your wishes regarding the medical and financial decisions you would like made on your behalf. I assist with the following estate planning needs:
Last Will & Testament: A Last Will & Testament is a legal document that informs those who succeed the deceased person as to how assets should be distributed after that person's death. It also tells the court which people are entitled to the decedent's estate. It has no impact on a person's lifetime affairs and does not address incapacity during one's lifetime.
You should not put off getting your Last Will and Testament because you can only execute your Last Will and Testament if you are legally competent. If you die without a Last Will and Testament, then the court will decide based on Michigan law who your property goes to.
Trusts: By placing certain assets and property in a Trust, you may designate a trustee to oversee those assets for a predetermined period of time. After that, the property may be distributed to the Trust's beneficiaries.
A Revocable Living Trust owns and manages your property (such as real estate, stocks, motor vehicles, and bank accounts) for your benefit while you are alive. You can revoke or amend your Revocable Living Trust until you become legally incompetent or you die.
You appoint a person(s), called a trustee, to manage all the Trust property according to the terms of the Trust. Normally, you appoint yourself as the first trustee. You appoint successor trustee(s) to manage the Trust for when you are disabled, incapacitated, or upon your death.
Upon your death, the trustee(s) will either distribute Trust property, or continue to hold and manage the property for the benefit of your beneficiaries based on the terms of the Trust.
The terms of the Trust are a set of instructions that you create stating how the Trust property is to be managed, and who will benefit from the Trust property - now and after your death.
There are many benefits to having a Revocable Living Trust. A few of these benefits are:
- No court intervention. Your trustee(s) manages the Trust according to its terms.
- Special needs planning for disabled beneficiaries.
- Protects a minor's inheritance. You can control the assets beyond the age of 18.
- The trustee can have discretionary powers of when, and if a distribution is made to a beneficiary.
- Avoid probate. There is not anything to probate if all of your property is owned by the Trust.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finance: Through this arrangement, you permit another person to assist you with your business affairs either now or later when you are unable to do so yourself due to an illness or incapacitation. A Durable Power of Attorney is still needed even if you are married. Your spouse can not automatically act on your behalf just because you are married. For example, your spouse cannot name or change beneficiaries on your life insurance policy or your retirement accounts unless your Durable Power of Attorney for Finance specifically gives your spouse this power.
You can only execute or revoke a Durable Power of Attorney for Finance if you are competent. Your Durable Power of Attorney for Finance expires upon your death.
Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare: A Durable Health Care Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you designate a person, called a Patient Advocate, to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you cannot make these decisions for yourself.
You can only execute a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney if you are competent. You can revoke your Durable Health Care Power of Attorney as long as you are competent. Your Durable Health Care Power of Attorney expires upon your death.
Speak with a trusted estate planning lawyer
If you could use the guidance of an estate planning attorney, work with the Law Office of Cery Kennedy. I serve individuals and families in Grand Rapids, Byron Center, Grandville, Caledonia, Walker, Rockford, Dorr, Wayland, Wyoming, Kentwood, Cedar Springs, Rockford, Sparta, and the surrounding communities. To learn more, call 616-326-1970 or click here to schedule an appointment.