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Estate Planning: Expressing Your Wishes

Some people feel it is too complex or too costly to draw up an estate plan, but the most costly error of all is failure to plan.

Planning your estate is about caring for your loved ones, seeing they are provided for, and making sure your property is distributed according to your wishes. An estate plan should be part of your family’s overall financial plan, along with saving for your children’s college tuition and your retirement.

About half of all Americans do not have a will, which leaves it to state law to distribute their property when they die. If they have children, a court will decide where they will live and who will make important decisions about their money, education, and way of life.


The primary documents in an estate plan may include:

  • A will
  • Durable financial power of attorney
  • Trust document for minor children
  • Patient advocate designation for health care
  • Parental power of attorney

A properly designed estate plan will:

  • Provide for your immediate family and others who need care
  • Allow beneficiaries to receive distributions more quickly, with less expense
  • Designate someone to make decisions for you about medical treatment
  • Choose someone to administer your estate
  • Specify funeral arrangements
  • Help a charitable cause
  • Reduce inheritance taxes to the minimum allowed by law
  • Provide for the continuation of your business.

Click on the links below for more on:

Revocable Trusts
Durable Financial Power of Attorney
Patient Advocate Designate
Parental Power of Attorney

Our Family Mediation & Collaborative Practice Center is now operating in Ann Arbor. Click to learn more about the mediation and collaborative divorce services being offered.

FM&CPC Home Page


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