Preserving Legacies, Securing Futures
Estate Planning for Michigan Families
I understand all too well the disastrous consequences of a lack of proper estate planning. I was fortunate to have grown up in a large, loving extended family and a childhood full of cherished memories from holidays, summer vacations, and wild winters spent together on my family's lakefront cottage property. Sadly, when my grandparents passed away without a clear plan in place, the feuding over medical decisions, property, and inheritances soon followed. Eventually, our beautiful family dynamic devolved and never recovered.
Motivated by the heartache of my family's experience, I became an estate planning attorney to help others avoid a similar fate. I'm committed to giving my clients the gift of peace of mind, knowing they did all they could to protect their loved ones from unnecessary pain and hardship and that their legacy is the one they envisioned.
Hi, I'm Debi Hulverson
I'm glad you're here!
I'm an estate planning attorney with over 11 years of experience. I pursued my law degree while juggling a family and a full-time career as a high school math teacher, so I understand that you may not have unlimited time or financial resources to spend on your estate plan. That is why I make it my mission to streamline the planning and drafting process for my clients while providing the best design to meet your legacy goals.
- B.A. in Mathematics from Alma College
- M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Grand Valley State University
- Juris Doctor degree from WMU-Cooley Law School, Magna Cum Laude
- Michigan Bar Association
- Ottawa County Bar Association
- Women Lawyers Association of Michigan
- Lake Michigan Estate Planning Council
- Certificate, Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan Certificate Program
- Grand Haven City Planning Commissioner
- Board member of the Spring Lake Junior Golf Association
- Long-time coach of high school and youth softball teams
Outside of my professional pursuits I am a lifelong athlete currently enjoying sports played on courses and the sides of mountains.
Frequently asked questions
who needs a plan?
An estate encompasses everything you own at the time of your incapacity and/or passing, including bank accounts, real estate, and insurance policies. Estate planning is not just for people nearing the end of their lives. Whether you are a young professional, a married couple, or nearing retirement, creating an estate plan helps you decide how your financial legacy lives on. It is the most thoughtful gift you can leave your loved ones.
As parents, we are responsible for ensuring our children's future. It's not just about putting children into car seats or forcing them to wear helmets; having a sound plan in place is just as important! After all, they aren't nearly ready to grapple with the intricacies of life or manage their own finances.
Consider it an important part of your parenting responsibilities: ensuring that the correct individuals are assigned to care for and financially provide for your children until they are old enough to conquer the world.
With your children now having embarked on their own adventures, it's crucial to recognize the importance of estate planning in this new phase of life. As you enjoy the freedom that comes with an empty nest, an estate plan becomes vital for ensuring your hard-earned assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Moreover, it allows you to strategically manage your finances, safeguard your retirement funds, and protect your property. By establishing healthcare directives and designating trusted individuals to make medical decisions on your behalf, you can ensure your preferences are respected during times of incapacity. Embrace this chapter with confidence, knowing that your legacy and the future well-being of your loved ones are secure through a well-crafted estate plan.
You may be surprised to learn that if your 18+ year old “child” had an accident or faced a medical emergency while away from home, without the proper legal documents in place, you may not be able to speak to the doctors about your child's medical care. Instead, you would have to go to court and ask a judge’s permission to obtain information about your own child’s medical condition or to be able to make decisions about your child's treatment.
Everyone over the age of 18 should have a plan to protect themselves that empowers trusted individuals to handle financial matters or make critical healthcare choices for them if they are unable to do so.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
With a trust-based estate plan, you can appoint a trusted person to be in charge of your assets to ensure that your wishes are carried out, even when you are no longer here. By setting up a trust, you can also bypass probate court, which is like the DMV of the afterlife, where your loved ones have to wait in line to claim your assets, sometimes for months or even years!
If you want to leave a lasting legacy for your loved ones, trust-based estate plans are the way to go. They help ensure that your assets continue to benefit your family long after you are gone. And the best part? Trust-based estate plans are fully customizable, so you can tailor them to fit your unique situation, whether you have a large family, a business to pass down, or just a beloved pet that needs a little extra care.
A will-based estate plan is best suited for individuals with very simple estate planning needs, such as those with only one asset and no minor children, and have straightforward family situations. By creating a will, you can decide who gets what, when they get it, and how much they get, providing clarity and certainty to your loved ones.
But remember, a will-based estate plan is like a one-hit wonder, it only works once. So, if you have assets that will continue to generate income after you are gone, a trust-based estate plan might be a better fit.
You know who's cooler than Wonder Woman? The legal guardian you choose for your kids in case something happens to you! That's why including kids' guardianship documents as part of your estate plan is crucial. Not only does it give you the power to choose who will take care of your kids, but it also ensures that the court won't have to make that decision for you. Plus, it can provide clear guidance for your guardian on your parenting wishes and values.
Without these documents, your family could end up with relatives and friends fighting over who gets to take care of your kids. Think of these documents as a superhero cape for your estate plan – it gives you the power to protect your kids even when you're not around. And let's face it, who doesn't want to be a superhero in their kids' eyes?
I know that hourly billing can get in the way of building a trusting relationship, so I never charge for calls or emails. My services are billed flat-fee and are always discussed and agreed to in advance.
Our signature, most popular plan! It's a comprehensive, personalized trust-based estate plan that is appropriate for most estates including those with minor children or other minor beneficiaries, for those requiring protections for beneficiaries and for blended families. This estate plan works toward eliminating probate court proceedings, appointing successors to manage the Trust after your death, and directs the distribution of your assets.
- A 2-hour consultation and design meeting by telephone, video conference, or in person
- One Revocable Living Trust
- Certification of Living Trust
- Last Will & Testament
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advanced Health Care Directive
- Authorization of Release of Medical Records (“HIPAA”)
- Assignment of Personal Property
- Personal Property Memorandum
- Trust Transfer Deed (one property)
- Recording Deed with county recorder (Recording fees included)
- Final signing meeting
- Complete instructions regarding your plan and funding the trust
- Minor Children's Guardianship Documents - naming guardians for the short-term, giving instructions to your legally named long-term and short-term guardians, giving instructions to your caregiver, and documenting exactly how you would want your children raised if anything happens to you.
- Personalized estate planning binder with all original documents
- Digital PDF copies of your entire plan
This plan is best for single-asset estates without minor children.
Young Adult Plan
An ideal plan for college-aged students or any adult aged 18+ with minimal estate planning considerations. This plan allows parents to still be able to act for their 18+ children for medical, financial and legal purposes, and to distribute the child’s assets should the child pre-decease the parent.
- A one-hour consultation and design meeting by telephone, video conference, or in person
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Advance Health Care Directive
- Simple Will which identifies not more than two beneficiaries with outright inheritance.
- A generic FERPA Consent Form that will authorize parents to communicate with a college regarding the student’s classes, transcripts, grades and more. Many educational institutions will have their own forms for this Consent which may be required, but if not, our standard form should be accepted.
- Digital and paper copies of the plan documents will be provided