Leaving a Legacy for the Living

Retirement planning and family investment concept with wealthy tree growing on parent - children's hands

In planning for age, incapacity and one’s passing, it is essential that your legal documents such as a Trust, Will and Powers of Attorney be in place so that your wishes are carried out properly and with the appropriate authority. But having these legal documents in place is not where your estate planning process in Michigan must end. Your estate planning can and should do more in terms of leaving a solid legacy for the living.

The loss of a family member is of course a grief-filled life event. This grief may be compounded when loved ones left behind face difficulties in determining who will be responsible for moving the estate forward or are left with confusion over what the deceased had intended to happen with his or her assets.

In the wake of such a loss, survivors should have access to some basic information about what a decedent wished to happen beyond his or her Will.  These wishes can be communicated through a “personal summary.” Your personal summary is your chance to share more about your values, your vision, and what you hope your loved ones will carry forward into the next generation. Your personal summary is not a legal document like your Will, but it gives you an additional opportunity to capture your thoughts and intentions and communicate those to your family members.

Another tool that can be used to communicate with your loved ones may involve a video memory recording, used to pass stories on to your loved ones.  Video memory recordings, while not necessary for legal aspects of estate planning, are tools that will certainly be cherished by loved ones left behind.

While your Trust does the heavy lifting of keeping things out of probate, protecting your beneficiaries and explaining who should step in to manage your estate, other tools like a personal summary can be helpful for the immediate tasks your family must undertake after you pass away.  Moreover, a video memory recording can communicate memories to your family after you are gone.

For more insight on a comprehensive estate plan in Michigan, contact our office to discuss your next steps.

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