Money Monday: Why estate planning is important

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – For those of you planning for your future, you might want to start thinking about your estate. Local money expert Stephen Schiestel is here for you to break down how that all works.

“When we think of all the different estate planning documents that we can have the three most important that we need to make sure that we have checkmarks next to is a will, a power of attorney, and an advanced directive,” said Schiestel.

A will is a document that explains how we wish our assets to be disposed of at our deaths, said Schiestel.

The key factors of a will are that it needs to be in writing and preferably drafted by an attorney.

If you don’t have a will in place when you die, your assets are dispersed based on the laws in which state you resided.

A durable power of attorney is a document that allows someone to act on your behalf legally if you are incapacitated, such as if you were in a coma or brain dead.

It’s important to find someone you trust to take on that role, said Schiestel.

A durable power of attorney document can be structured in several different ways.

Most attorneys recommend an immediate power of attorney document, meaning the named person takes control immediately after you are incapacitated. A springing durable power of attorney takes effect after a doctor (or doctors) has signed off on it.

A durable power of attorney document can also be limited in scope or broad in scope.

A limited document says that the individual can only perform certain actions on your behalf, whereas a broad scope allows them to make most or all decisions on your behalf.

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