Did you know over 50% of Americans die without a will?
Gary Shegina, CFP, Vice President and Sr. Trust Officer at Credit Union Trust shared some information with us that may surprise you.
People who pass away without a will aren’t limited to those who simply can’t afford one or don’t think they need to have one drafted. Many people who die without a will have a great financial picture and are well informed, consulting with lawyers on a regular basis. Recent examples of these scenarios include Aretha Franklin and Prince.
Under Michigan law, when a person dies without a will, it is said the person died intestate. It will then be up to the state of Michigan to determine how property is distributed. Property includes all assets including credit union accounts, securities, real estate, and any other valuables.
“Without a will, the court decides where assets will go independent of where the deceased might have wished,” explains Gary.
A Will Prevents Family Members from Fighting Over Assets
Death is already a painful experience for your loved ones. Add these mixed emotions with the distribution of assets and it can quickly turn into a family dispute. Arguments may occur that last for years or more, only tearing your family apart.
If you have a will drafted, you are in control of how your money and other assets are divided, leaving no room for misinterpretation or disagreements.
“You can also leave your assets in a trust where you can direct when and how much is to be distributed to your beneficiaries. After your debts and taxes are paid, your beneficiaries receive their share. If there is no will, the state will direct the distribution of your property and assets,” explains Gary.
Another family dispute often occurs when family members are determining who will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of real estate.
For example, who will get the cottage up north? Who is in charge of maintaining and securing the cottage?
By having a will in place, you can include specific instructions for the sale or preservation of your real estate.
Prevent Custody Battles of Minor Children or Dependents
If you have any minor children or dependents and you die, it will be up to the state of Michigan to decide where these dependents will live and who will care for them.
Only you know the best environment for your minor children or dependents, not the state. Taking the time to draft a will gives you the power to execute your own personal wishes, and know that family members who depend on you will be properly cared for in a loving home.
We would like to thank Gary Shegina at Credit Union Trust for taking the time to share this valuable information with us.
Be sure to visit his website at credituniontrust.com. Or give Gary a call for more information at: 877-730-6109.
About Northville Seniors Real Estate Agent, Tracy Wick
Tracy Wick is a Seniors Real Estate Agent in Northville, Michigan with 25 years of experience as a real estate consultant for both buyers and sellers.
Tracy specializes in estate settlement for elder and estate planning attorneys, trust officers and their clients.