Michigan Wills & Trusts helps you create high-quality estate planning documents tailored to your clients’ individual needs. Authored by nationally recognized estate planning experts, the program's patented Intelligent Legal Technology® uses a question and answer session to guide you through the drafting process, with up-to-date research and analysis tailored to each question appears on screen when you need it. You can also see your document change as you select among a question’s choices. The program generates legally sound, internally consistent documents and sends them to your word processor. This is the system that Holland & Knight uses to draft its estate planning documents.
Authored by George W. Gregory of Kemp Klein; Edward F. Koren and Richard L. Stockton of Holland & Knight; Bruce Stone of Goldman, Felcoski & Stone; and Carlyn McCaffrey of McDermott Will & Emery.
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Each of the Wills in this title is structured and worded for ease of use and understanding. Depending on the level of complexity of the document chosen, they may have tax and business planning through a Stand-alone Will, or be very basic for clients with a truly simple situation. Or anywhere in-between. Each one will contain dispositive provisions, appointment of fiduciaries appropriate to its complexity, and, if desired, appointment of guardians for minor children. Other provisions can be layered onto some of them to expand administrative flexibility.
This form of Will includes the ability to create various Testamentary Trusts, such as Marital and Credit Shelter (Family) Trusts (including QDOTs); trusts for children and descendants; GST exempt and nonexempt trusts; dynasty trusts; a standby trust; a pet trust; and a special needs trust (third party), along with many other provisions to facilitate administration.
Simple Will is a term of art that describes a Will leaving all assets to one's spouse, or if deceased, to one's descendants. To minimize effort in drafting one of these less complicated instruments, Lawgic restricts the options available by preanswering many questions to produce a uniform document. When more complex provisions are desired, such as with a larger estate that still wishes for a basic family disposition, the Stand-alone Will opens up all the bells and whistles in the package, and can reach the same result.
When a short Will just isn't' short enough, we have provided the Ultra-simple which has the most basic provisions needed. It's use should be rare, but it has the advantage of not requiring the attorney to delete large swaths of text to keep from overwhelming the client.
This is a hybrid Will that combines simplicity in the form of an outright gift of all assets to a spouse, with the flexibility of post-mortem tax planning, It does this by building in a Disclaimer Trust into which the surviving spouse can pass assets to shield them from estate tax at his or her subsequent death. Under the disclaimer rules, the spouse can retain an interest in the assets passing to the trust, even though not later included in his or her estate.
When a Revocable Trust is made the central part of the client's estate plan, it is still important to have a Will that funnels any assets not placed in the trust during the client's lifetime. This Will does that, but has some other flexibility as well, such as the ability to add a gift of homestead within it.
A codicil is merely a change to a Will, and can be complex or very simple. It should be executed with the same formalities as a Will.
The GRAT structure is predicated on the Grantor (or the Grantor's estate) receiving all the annuity payments due; this simple codicil ensures that any excess payments made after the Grantor's death won't be subject to additional estate tax by passing the annuity to the surviving spouse.
Each of the Trusts in this title is structured and worded for ease of use and understanding. These include a single Revocable Trust for one Grantor, or a joint Revocable Trust (either simple or complex) to use with spouses. Each one will contain dispositive provisions, appointment of fiduciaries appropriate to its complexity, and, if desired, quasi-fiduciary assigned roles (trust advisors). Other provisions can be layered onto these trusts to expand administrative flexibility.
Lawgic Revocable Trusts include protection for the grantor if disabled and the ability to create various ongoing Trusts, such as Marital and Credit Shelter (Family) Trusts (including QDOT); trusts for children and descendants; GST exempt and nonexempt trusts; dynasty trusts; a standby trust; a pet trust; and a special needs trust (third party), along with many other provisions to facilitate administration.
The complex joint trust allows for a variety of tax planning and asset management scenarios, and the more basic simple one is similar to a joint bank account. Other tax or business planning can be included in any of the versions.
These documents are like codicils for trusts to make changes in the terms, whether simple or complex, including the ability to restate the entire trust.
These are typically used for tax planning and sometimes for asset protection (from the beneficiaries themselves). The creator of the trust generally does not retain any interest in it, to preserve the tax benefits. Some of these are automatically treated as Grantor Trusts, but for the others Lawgic allows a choice.
An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust is an old planning technique to isolate proceeds of life insurance from an estate tax in the insured's estate, and subsequently in the estate of the beneficiary (often the spouse). While insurance payable to a spouse is generally tax-free, those funds could be taxed at the second spouse's death; an irrevocable trust protects often large amounts by allowing premiums to build the policy value free of estate tax (and subsequent income tax on the proceeds).
An Intentionally Defective Income Trust (aka Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust) is an irrevocable trust that is taxed as if the Grantor were the owner, even though the trust assets are commonly outside of the Grantor's estate for estate tax purposes. There are benefits to this approach, which can be weighed against the downside--the Grantor is taxed on money he or she does not receive.
A Grantor Retained Annuity Trust is a method to pass appreciation on assets to others, while retaining the underlying assets themselves. The Grantor receives payments from a GRAT annually, and all growth beyond a government stated rate of return can pass to other family members or trusts at the end of the specified term.
This is an irrevocable trust designed to allow a Grantor to occupy a residence or vacation home for a specified period, after which it remains in trust or passes to other family members. The attraction is that the current gift of the residence's value after the term expires is reduced by the value of the Grantor's retained rights.
The desire to use (and thereby preserve) estate tax exemption without giving up access to the assets given away has led to the creation of this specialized irrevocable trust, in which a completed taxable gift in trust is held for the benefit of one's spouse.
This trust is designed to allow assets to be held for a minor in trust while qualifying for the annual exclusion for gift tax purposes. Because of its statutory limitations, a more flexible trust is often preferred, for which Lawgic provides the beneficiary withdrawal rights (Crummey Powers) to qualify for the annual exclusion.
Gifts to grandchildren also need to take into account generation-skipping tax aspects; this special type of trust, though similarly restricted as the Trust for Minors, qualifies for not only the gift tax annual exclusion, but also the generation-skipping annual exclusion.
A broad purpose irrevocable trust to be customized as needed.
The IRS promulgates sample trusts that will qualify for Charitable Remainder Trust purposes; Lawgic has a separate title that incorporates that approved language into a standard trust structure.
A Durable Power of Attorney grants another person (Agent) the right to exercise certain powers on behalf of the grantor (Principal); its "durability" results from a statutory enhancement that allows the power of attorney, contrary to its common law origins, to remain in effect even if the Principal is incapacitated, subject to certain restrictions.
Effectively, this is Michigan's form of a Health Care Power of Attorney, but the different name for it suggests it is similar to the Health Care Surrogate concept in other states. This allows an agent to make health care decisions under state law for the principal. Some restrictions apply.
Many states recognize a Living Will as the last expression of a person who cannot communicate the desire not to be kept alive artificially; Lawgic allows for customization of various situations in which this document will take effect.
A form for nomination of a person to oversee (and ostensibly to enforce) arrangements for the deceased's funeral. Can be helpful if family conflict is anticipated.
A parent's temporary transfer of custodial authority of a minor (e.g., for vacation) is not addressed in most states; Lawgic has created a simple form that operates like a power of attorney (nonstatutory) for someone to have apparent authority to care for the child on a short term basis.
If an attorney chooses to retain the original of a client's power of attorney, so as to prevent its untimely use (or misuse) by the named Agent, the client may prefer to leave the original signed copies with the attorney; this form acts as a simple escrow agreement to give the attorney guidelines on when and how to release the retained documents.
Some systems automatically revoke prior Powers of Attorney upon execution of a new one. Lawgic prefers a surgical approach with a separate form to allow revocation of only the powers that are no longer desired.
A simple form transferring assets to a trust, customarily stock or tangible personal property.
This is a form, structured as an affidavit, that can be used to substitute for a full copy of the trust. In earlier days it was called a Memorandum of Trust.
Notices of withdrawal rights granted to beneficiaries are very important for tax purposes. Lawgic has some different approaches to choose from.
When using multiple trustees, some do not want to be (or perhaps cannot be) fully involved in all aspects of the trust administration. This form allows delegation of some administration powers between trustees.
This is a formal resignation of a trustee.
Many states allow a writing, separate from a Will, to pass items of tangible personal property to others more informally than by having the gift in the Will. Requirements vary by state, but this form is a sample for clients to use when creating that separate writing.
A simple deed to transfer real estate into a trust.
Several states allow the expansion of the common law Deed with a Reserved Life Estate to create an Enhanced Life Estate (generally referred to as a Ladybird Deed). The Grantor retains many rights in excess of a traditional life estate, making it a reasonably painless probate avoidance technique.
Often an institution will require the Agent under a power of attorney to certify various facts, such as that the Principal is still alive, has not revoked the power, and has not been adjudicated to be incapacitated. Frequently, these institutions insist the certification be on one of their forms, but this is a generic version of such a form if that is not the case.
While Lawgic generally grants HIPAA rights under a Medical Authorization, however denominated, there may be situations when a separate form is needed.
Easily create mirror documents for a spouse.
Enter shared information only once.
Automatically generate a client synopsis of the will or trust.
Reduce research efforts with a searchable library of resources.
Template Assistant feature easily creates and saves templates for use with multiple clients.
Automatically exports to Microsoft® Word 2010 (or higher) or Corel® WordPerfect® X6 (or higher) using autonumbering and Table of Contents updating.