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Estate Planning and Estate Settlement

An estate plan typically involves the development of several legal documents including a will, a trust, a durable power of attorney, a designation of a patient advocate, and a detailed listing of your assets.

Southern will assist you, your attorney, your tax accountant and your family in creating an estate plan that meets your needs and those of your family. We assist families with decisions about how to transfer property or assets during lifetime and after death. During the development of your estate plan, we consider your familyís situation, tax consequences, your goals and objectives and your familyís needs.

Your personal representative is responsible for following the instructions of your will, collecting estate assets, maintaining records, paying expenses, notifying creditors, reporting to probate court, and filing income tax returns. The complexity of these tasks often makes it a burden to name a family member. Naming one family member over another often causes conflict in the family. You can avoid this by naming Southern as your personal representative.

Click here for a helpful article on estate planning.

Trustee Services

Choosing who will be the successor trustee of your trust is often a difficult decision but an important one. Your trustee must be knowledgeable in investments, tax, fiduciary law and trust administration. Southern can act as your trustee. Advantages of the bank over an individual in acting as trustee are: expertise, solid investment performance, permanence, financial responsibility, audited and controlled, insured.

Families can benefit from a trust to reduce estate tax liability, to provide for a special needs child, to provide income to family after death, protect family members, protect an individual during lifetime, avoids the need for probate, and provides for distribution of the estate at death.

Charitable Giving Assistance

Philanthropy is an important part of many estate plans. In addition to the personal reward of supporting a worthy cause or organization, your gifting plan can also help reduce estate and income taxes. Southern can help you make charitable requests in a way that is efficient, effective, and may provide tax savings.

Elder Services

We assist families in handling the financial affairs of an elderly parent or relative who needs assistance with bill payment, investment management, and record keeping for income tax purposes. We can help recommend an estate plan to fit the needs of the family member.

Conservator Accounts

Southern often serves as court appointed conservator for clients who are unable to manage their own financial affairs due to advanced age, incapacitating illness, or for minor children. Our role as conservator is to protect the interests of the individual.

Agent for Trustee or Personal Representative

We can assist an individual who has been named the trustee or personal representative of an estate by serving as the agent. We work directly with the trustee or personal representative in the administration of the trust or estate and provide the expertise that an individual may not have. We would handle the investment management, administrative responsibilities, and tax duties.

For more on these and other related topics, read our helpful brochure about Southern's investment management and trust services.




Products provided by Southern Michigan Bank & Trustís Wealth Management department are not FDIC insured. They may lose value and there is no bank guarantee.