Many Michigan residents, as well as others throughout the country, want to be as prepared as possible for the inevitable, that they will die someday. A first logical step to take to get one’s estate in order is to execute a last will and testament. In order to avoid probate delays or contests, there are several things an estate owner will want to avoid incorporating into his or her will.
Most wills include property that the estate owner in question wants to leave to an heir or beneficiary. A person executing an estate plan, however, must make sure that he or she fully owns the property being listed as an asset in a will. For instance, if a person jointly owns a specific property with someone else, it should not be listed in a will as an asset he or she owns outright.
In such cases, joint tenancy with rights of ownership means the co-owner becomes the outright owner of the property upon the co-owner’s death. In addition to jointly owned property, payable-on-death accounts, as well as property in trust, do not need to be included in a will. Such assets may be distributed directly to beneficiaries; in fact, including them in a will could cause probate delays.
Michigan business owners will also want to research business succession plans to be able to make informed decisions and choose a plan that enables the smoothest of transitions, as well as to avoid estate tax complications. Contested probate can be a lengthy and stressful legal process. This is why it is a good idea to learn as much as possible ahead of time before executing an estate plan, particularly concerning what to include or not include in a will.