Estate Planning and Business Succession

Estate planning is about more than the transfer of assets. It's about protecting the people you care about, the business you've built, and the security of their future. Regardless of the size of your estate, Ferguson Widmayer works with you to design an estate plan designed for your needs.

Our attorneys practice extensively in the areas of Michigan estate and probate law. Unlike many estate planners, however, most are also experienced tax attorneys. Because estate planning often goes hand-in-hand with tax planning, our knowledge of both areas uniquely qualifies us to achieve your estate planning goals.

Sophisticated Planning for Your Personal and Business Needs

Ferguson Widmayer is equipped to handle estates involving significant wealth and complex assets, and we take just as much pride in planning for smaller, more straightforward estates. You know the goals you have for the future of your family or business. We know the questions to ask to help you reach them. Our services include:

  • Wills: A Last Will and Testament is a fundamental building block of your estate plan, but most estates require more.
  • Trusts: Different types of trusts offer different benefits, including probate avoidance, tax reduction, management for minor children, and protection of assets from your children's creditors and divorcing spouses.
    • Typical "living" trusts allow you to maintain control of your assets during your life and allow a successor trustee to step in when you become unable to manage your affairs.
    • "Special needs" trusts are designed to supplement disabled family members' needs without jeopardizing government benefits.
    • Irrevocable trusts are used primarily to reduce estate tax exposure.
  • Planning for incapacity: Holding your assets in a "living" trust allows for the smoothest transition when you become incapacitated. For assets not held in trust, a Financial Durable Power of Attorney is a standard part of our estate plans. A Medical Durable Power of Attorney appoints a Patient Advocate to make medical decisions when you cannot. Advance Directives provide guidance for your Patient Advocate, family members, and medical personnel.
  • Retirement Benefits: Many of our clients have most of their assets in retirement plans and IRAs. Because of our depth in retirement plan law, we are particularly adept at planning the most advantageous treatment of retirement plans in your estate.
  • Transfer Tax Planning: We use our knowledge of state and federal tax law in planning to reduce gift tax, estate tax, and capital gains tax upon transfer of your assets.
  • Income Tax Planning:With the reduced risk of estate tax, income taxation of trusts and estates has taken on much more significance. We understand and can help you navigate these rules.
  • Business Succession Planning: Without proper transition planning, many small businesses fail. Who will take over—someone from within the business? A family member? An outside buyer? We work with your team of advisors to help determine the most tax-efficient strategy.

Estate Planning Advice from Experienced Tax Attorneys

We offer the guidance of attorneys with years of estate planning, tax planning, and business succession experience. We invite you to call (734) 662-0222 or contact Ferguson Widmayer, P.C. online to schedule a consultation and to learn how we can help you prepare for the future of your family or your business.