Wills & Trusts Attorney — Free Consultation (248) 663-2566
Everybody’s circumstances are different. It’s not pleasant thinking about what will happen when you are gone. It’s not fun, but needs to happen to ensure your wishes are respected and carried out. That is why Legal Attorney Dean E. Patrick works with his clients one on one to explore, discover, and assure their goals are attained. With legal assistance from Dean Patrick, your Last Will will ensure your last wishes are taken care of.
Below are a few stories to help you recognize your goals as regards the estate planning and the probate process.
A married couple, Felix and Sandra, stopped talking with their surviving siblings after a bitter probate court fight. With a modest estate and the want for their siblings to take no part of their estate, they needed to plan, but kept making excuses and putting off writing wills. Before they got around to it, Sandra passed away. Weakened by the grief from the loss of his wife, Felix passed away within the month.
If you do not plan, the probate process makes decisions for you. With no living parents or children, their estate was distributed to the very people they did not want, their surviving siblings.
Felix and Sandra could have maintained control when they were gone and disinherited their siblings if they had created wills or trusts.
Government Benefits For Incapacitated Loved Ones
Another married couple, Al and Michelle, have a disabled child, Larry, receiving government benefits. Unaware of the interaction between inheritance and government benefits, Al and Michelle created a simple will distributing their assets equally among their two children, Ronald and Larry. Many years later, Michelle passed away. Weakened by the grief from the loss of his wife, Al passed away within the month.
A subject of the probate process, Larry, now without his parents to care for him, received a letter from the State of Michigan. Without compassion for his situation, the letter read that the State was making a claim against his inheritance for the past State benefits he had received.
This situation could likely have been avoided with a supplemental (special) needs trust established for Larry’s benefit inside of their wills.
Fiscally Irresponsible Beneficiaries
Steve and Amber, have been happily married for only a short time. With a modest estate, and two 18 year old sons between them, they decided to create wills to maintain control. Steve and Amber suddenly passed away in a car accident.
After being subject to the probate process, the balance of the estate transferred to the boys. With very different attitudes toward money, the boys now had to manage a sum of money beyond anything they had seen before.
The responsible son, Ricky, used his inheritance to pay for tuition and room and board for his college pursuits. To assist in getting around, Ricky purchased a used car. Confident in his financial savvy, Ricky invested the balance of the inheritance in the stock market. Although Ricky had set aside some money as a reserve, he was not prepared for a shaky stock market. While many lost up to 40% of their portfolios during a market crash, Ricky lost nearly 72% because of his stock picks. His reserves quickly depleted, Ricky had to take on a full time job to finish school.
The less than responsible son, Spencer took another path with his inheritance. First things first, Spencer purchased the sports car he always wanted. He didn’t consider maintenance and insurance costs when he made the purchase. Next, he found a nice apartment for him, and his friends, to live in. Not interested, and lacking the push to do otherwise, Spencer decided he did not need to go to school because of the inheritance. Before his brother Ricky graduated from college, Spencer had blown his entire inheritance.
This situation could have been avoided if Steve and Amber had created a testamentary trust inside of their wills. Steve and Amber could have nominated someone to manage the finances for their children. This approach, would have better assured that their health, education, maintenance, and support were taken care of while avoiding the downfalls described above.
If you have questions, please contact Attorney Patrick at (248) 663-2566 to recieve a free initial consultation. You may also visit our contact page for further information about how to receive a free initial consultation on your legal matters.
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