Category Archives: Wills

Will Myth #2: If I die everything will go to my spouse

Everyone thinks this, but without proper planning, it’s not always the case. If you have living children or parents at the time of your death, they could also get a share.
 
There are two ways that you can ensure your spouse gets everything: joint titling or a will.
 
First, if everything you and your spouse own is titled in both of your names, and you have joint ownership with “rights of survivorship” everything will automatically pass to your spouse upon your death. Things such as cars, real estate and bank accounts can be titled this way. But beware; there are tax and other consequences for doing this. Please consult an attorney, or financial advisor, before changing ownership of any of your property.
 
Second, have a will to direct the probate court. If your will says that your spouse gets everything, that is pretty much the end of it. The probate court will take your will and allow your spouse to take ownership of your property.
 
Some people would like to give their children, other relatives or charities a portion of their estate. Without a will the probate court cannot determine what you wanted to do. The court will look at the “laws of intestacy” which direct how a person’s estate must be distributed. It is unlikely that the formulas they use will make sure your children have a nest egg for college or that your favorite charity gets the gift you want them to have.
 
Need a will? Contact Attorney Jill Duffy at 248-624-5500.

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Myth- I don’t have enough money to NEED a will

If you have any assets you need a will. It’s likely that most of you have a bank account, a car and some personal property (if not more). If you die without a will, the laws of intestacy determine who your property goes to. This could mean that the assets you have worked hard for could go to crazy Aunt Sally or even worse, the brother you haven’t talked to in ten years. Drafting a will helps ensure that those you love the most benefit from your hard work.

A more comprehensive estate plan also includes a living will (Durable Power of Attorney) and a Financial Power of Attorney. Although you are young and healthy right now, reality is that you never know when a disaster could happen. If you get into a car accident on your way home tonight, who will take care of your affairs for you? Having a living will lets you decide what type of medical treatment you wish to receive when you cannot make that decision for yourself, or decide who gets to make the decision for you.

Durable Power of Attorney-allows you to designate a trusted person to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself. This person is often called a Patient Advocate.

Financial Power of Attorney-allows you to designate a trusted person to make financial decisions for you when you are unable to make them yourself.

If you have kids, a will can designate the person you want to take care of them after you are gone. If you do not make this decision before you pass your children’s caregiver will be determined by a judge.

Need a will or Power of Attorney? Call Attorney Jill Duffy at 248-624-5500. Mention this blog for a special discount!

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