As a Michigan Wills, Trusts and Estate Lawyer, one of my main goals is to help my clients avoid or manage conflict, either now or after a tragedy (death or incapacity).  This goal is one that I feel “traditional” estate planning pays less attention to than is deserved.  It is an area where the “counselor” part of “attorney and counselor at law” becomes keenly important.

Why?  Because the alternative in many cases is a costly lawsuit and/or hurt feelings.  For example, I recently ran across this article, which hints at the results of poorly counseled estate planning and gives real examples of what can lead to problems mentioned above.  And notice that the article is written by an estate litigation attorney.  These are “real life” examples.

As the article points out, many seemingly “benign” decisions can potentially lead to disastrous results if they are not the result of proper counseling and planning.

Here are just a few of the examples the article author gives as leading to courthouse controversy over estates:

  • Do It Yourself (DIY) estate planning – you can read my previous blog post about DIY planning here.
  • Not having even a basic estate plan.  Without this, you are left with the State of Michigan’s plan for you.  A court will decide who gets what and who makes your healthcare decisions.
  • Picking the wrong person to be in charge.  Many families pick certain people out of a sense of obligation, not based on how well they would perform the task for which they were chosen.

I encourage you to read the rest of the examples given in the article.  And if you’re ready to take steps to make sure your legacy isn’t left to squabbling and undesired court involvement, call us at 616-827-7596.

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and business planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for finances – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate and asset protection planning for  the “experienced” generation, the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses and pet planning.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.