Estate Planning

  • Do I Need an Estate Plan?

    Have you ever considered what will happen to your assets -- your house, the contents of your bank account, etc. -- after you’ve passed? Many of my clients say they’d like their assets to be split between their children or to see certain funds go to charitable organizations. The only way to guarantee that your assets are distributed as you desire is to have a will.

  • Does a trust have to go through probate?

    No. One of the advantages of a trust over a will is that a trust does not have to go through probate before assets are distributed to beneficiaries. A trust is usually more expensive and complicated to set up than a will; on the other hand, it can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months (or longer) for a will to go through the probate process.

  • Estate Planning Basics: Top 3 Reasons You May Need a Will

    When I meet with a potential new Estate Planning client, one of the first questions I hear is, "Do I really need a will?" That question is usually followed by comments such as, "I don't have tons of money," or "If I die, my spouse will just get everything," or "If my spouse and I both die, my parents will raise our kids."

  • Estate Planning FAQ: I have a special needs child. Other than a basic will, is there anything I need to do to provide for that child?

    Although each situation varies, and there are many factors to consider, you may want to set up a special needs trust to provide for your child. A special needs trust may be a useful tool for a disabled individual who is receiving, or will receive, government benefits.

  • Estate Planning FAQ: If I get remarried after my first spouse dies, how do I make sure my assets go to my children from my first marriage?

    Blended families – those in which one or both spouses have children from a prior relationship – are becoming more and more common. Estate planning for blended families is complex, especially if one spouse is significantly older than the other, or if one spouse has much more money than the other.

  • Estate Planning FAQ: What are the requirements for a formal (typed) will?

    For a formal, typed, will (called an “attested” will), there are three requirements that must be met for the will to be valid and enforceable:

  • Estate Planning FAQ: What does it mean to “fund” a trust?

    To fund a trust means to retitle certain assets in the name of the trust.  Your trust only controls those assets that are “owned” by the trust.  If your trust is funded properly, the trust will control the distribution of your assets when you die; assets not owned by the trust may not be distributed as provided in the trust.  A properly funded trust can also help your estate avoid probate when you die.

  • Estate Planning FAQ: Is a handwritten will valid in Michigan?

    Yes, if certain requirements are met. In order to be valid, a handwritten, or holographic, will, must meet the following criteria:

  • Estate Planning FAQs: What is the difference between a will and a trust?

    A will (often called a Last Will and Testament) is a set of instructions that allow you to distribute your assets upon your death. You can also set up guardianship for your minor children. Once the instructions in the will have been carried out, the will ceases to exist.

  • Key Traits to Consider When Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

    While there are many factors to explore when chosing a guardian, I advise my clients to consider the following:

  • What Happens If My Boyfriend/Girlfriend Dies Without a Will?

    My boyfriend and I were together for more than 10 years, but we never married. He recently died without a will, and he never listed me as beneficiary on his life insurance and 401(k). Do I have a right to inherit a portion of his estate?

  • What is probate, and why does everyone think probate should be avoided like the plague?

    Probate is the process used to ask a judge (usually a probate court judge) to approve a decedent’s will so the instructions in the will can be acted upon.

  • What Will Happen to My Kids if I Die?

    The only way to be absolutely certain that the person(s) you want to be guardian of your minor children is selected in the event that both you and your partner pass is to have a valid will in place.

  • Without Children, Who Receives the Estate?

    Josh and Debra knew they had a lot in common when they met: love of travel and the finer things in life, ambition to distinguish themselves in their professional careers, and a desire to serve their community and those in need.

    With so much to accomplish, Debra and Josh also knew when they married that having children probably wasn’t in the cards, particularly since they both traveled frequently for their jobs.

Mike Toburen - Attorney at Law   

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Attorney Mike Toburen

(616) 425-9212
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230 Fulton St E, Suite 7
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

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