A Will is a unilateral statement by an individual, expressing that individual’s desires concerning the disposition of her property upon her death. The Will nominates a “Personal Representative,” who, upon appointment by the Court, has the power to administer the terms of the Will.
Revocable (you can change or completely revoke it) anytime up to time of death.
[Wills and revocable Trusts are the same in this regard].
A Will is only effective upon death. It has no legal significance during a person’s life, and therefore a Will cannot provide for anyone to handle your affairs in the case of your incapacity. However, this power can be granted during your life via powers-of-attorney.
Less expensive: about $500 for a plan for a married couple
Invokes Probate filing fee ($150.00), and Inventory Fee (anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands).
Invokes legal fees (about $2,500 -$3,000 if the estate is simple and there is no litigation. If there is litigation, fees can easily run into 5-figures)
Generally simpler provisions (though a Will can be more complicated, it would generally be wiser and more cost efficient to do a Trust if complicated provisions are desired).
A Will must be filed with the Probate Court and is therefore subject to “public” view.
Because a Will’s contents are subject to review by anyone in the family, legal challenges to a Will are (at least theoretically) easier and more common, which could lead to costly probate litigation.
No protection for estate from “Estate Tax.” Estate Tax refers to a separate tax imposed on assets that are distributed from an estate over a given worth.
Wills may be used to “nominate” the guardian and conservator of minor children in the event of the death of both parents. This nomination must be made legal by the appointment of the court, but Michigan courts will strongly favor a nomination in a Will.
Wills have no power to prevent a beneficiary age 18 or older from taking inheritance (except by invoking the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, and then can only delay taking to age 21).
Subject to “Estate Recovery” claim by the State of Michigan for Medicaid payments made for a decedent's care prior to death.