Michigan Attorneys Providing Excellence in Estate Planning and Elder Care

Estate Planning 101: What We All Should Know

Attorney Kelli King-Penner was recently interviewed for an exclusive Facebook Live event. During this interview, she explored the most important reasons you would want a Will, a Trust, or an Estate Plan. Planning is not just for the nation’s most wealthy – here’s why.

If you’re a Michigan resident who would like to learn more about getting your ducks in a row with a high quality estate plan, contact Mannor Law Group to begin the conversation.

Gina Bednarski: Hi everyone! Thank you for joining us today! My name is Gina with Social Connect at White Glove and I’m here today to talk with Attorney Kelli from Mannor Law Group. Kelli, how are you?

Kelli King-Penner: I’m good. How are you doing?

Gina Bednarski: Good! Any plans for the holiday weekend?

Kelli King-Penner: We’re supposed to be going out of town out of Michigan if the storms hold back. Hopefully, it will be a good trip.

Gina Bednarski: Yes, that’s amazing! I know. Michigan is known for it’s heavy waves there, but that should be beautiful. Kelli, thank you so much for joining me today. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to join me. I just have a few questions for you. For everyone that is watching, Kelli will be answering some important questions in regard to Estate planning 101: what you should know. I’m ready to get started, Kelli. If you are.

Kelli King-Penner: Absolutely!

Gina Bednarski: Okay! So, the first question I have for you today is: Why do I need a Will if I have trust?

Kelli King-Penner: So this is usually a common question that we get. Especially, when we’re dealing with estate planning when we’re recommending trusts, what do I need if I have a trust already? Is all part of comprehensive estate planning. So typically comprehensive estate planning is going to consist of a series of documents, but you always need a will when you have a trust. Simply because things get left out of the trust sometimes. That could be because people forget about assets. Things happened before they were able to put in the name of their trust. And really we want that trust to be the primary document. And typically through the laws, at least in the state of Michigan, if something ends up in your name alone with no beneficiary is part of your probate estate, the will is going to have control of where that goes. So we always do a will whenever we do a trust, but it’s a special kind of will that’s going to dump everything into your trust to make sure your estate plan is fulfilled to its potential.

Gina Bednarski: So, why should I hire a lawyer for my estate plan instead of downloading a form?

Kelli King-Penner: Downloading a form is going to be exactly just that. It’s going to be a form that is made for the mass population. It’s not going to be a custom tailor to any of your particular goals, any family situation. The other problem with forms is that it’s not going to have any legal advice. You're literally just going to hit up a document that you really don’t have an understanding of what it’s actually achieving. So having that good legal advice is going to be your “biggest bang for the buck” so to speak because it’s going to prevent possible issues down the line because you’re really going to get that really good legal advice in addition to those documents. It’s really the advice that you’re going to want to utilize your cost with and rhe documents itself are great, but it’s the advice you need.

Gina Bednarski: Most definitely. Hey, Kelli! What is the difference between a will and a living will?

Kelli King-Penner: So this is actually a really common question that I get quite often. They’re actually doing two separate things, the term will is a misnomer. I really kind of hate the description of it. A living will is actually a living form of advance of healthcare directive. So this is actually if you’re unable to make your medical decisions, you’re incapacitated, you can’t communicate with doctors and tell them what you want to have happen. A living will is actually a document that kind of speaks for you in terms of what kind of medical treatment you want or don;t want. Michigan doesn’t utilize a living will, we use something called patient advocate designation where you’re appointing a person to speak for you rather than the document itself. A will is a death document that is something you’re designating who has custody or who you would like it to be guardian of your minor children, who gets your assets when you die, who’s going to be in control to make sure that is done. So a living will is a lifetime document and a will is a death document.

Gina Bednarski: If I don’t own anything, why is estate planning important?

Kelli King-Penner: So estate planning is always important when you’re dealing with yourself. So even if you have nothing estate wise, that’s not always true. There’s usually something to manage, but even if you have nothing estate wise. Even the ability to have someone make medical decisions for you and to make sure that somebody can step in that you trust rather than the entropy whoever the court might appoint to that. It could be someone you don’t know, it could be a public person, a company. There’s a lot of loss of control when you’re involving the court in your plan as opposed to being proactive and saying these are the people I trust in my life and these are the ones I want to make medical decisions for me, to make sure my bills are paid, to manage what assets I have even if they are a few. You still have the ability to kind of maintain control and dignity of your own life and dictated on your terms.

Gina Bednarski: So, when should I consider estate planning?

Kelli King-Penner: Estate planning legally speaking should be pursued by anybody 18 years or older, but it’s never too late to start. We get clients of all ages as far as they come in. They've never had an estate plan and they are now thinking things that happened and they want to get an estate plan. So, high school seniors going off to college, mom and dad don’t have much control of things that happen because they’re legally adults once you’re 18. Something happens to them and someone needs to step in to manage their medical decisions or something else. It's really important to have those basic estate plan documents in place to make sure people you trust can have control. So really anybody 18 years or older needs to have an estate plan, but it’s never too late to start.

Gina Bednarski: That was a lot of great information, Kelli. Thank you so much, once again for taking the time out of your day to answer my questions. It was very informative so I appreciate it.

Kelli King-Penner: Absolutely! Thank you for having me, Gina.

Gina Bednarski: Most definitely! If you want more information about the topic discussed click on the link above and it will take you to Kelli’s business page, the Manor Law Group where you can get more information. Kelli, have a wonderful holiday weekend!


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