Kelly T. Braun

Kelly T Braun Headshot
“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” ~ E. Roosevelt

A little bit about me… I have been practicing law for over 20 years. In the latter part of my career, my focus was on estate planning as a sole practitioner. I recently joined the Michigan Law Center as their estate planning attorney. The practical approach, values, and client attention of this firm were very familiar and important to me, and I am thrilled to be joining their team and look forward to this collaboration. 

I am happily married, have two wonderful children and a loving family. Spending time with my family brings me pure joy. We have fun traveling, going to concerts, and enjoying Rochester’s parks, bike trails, and downtown shops and restaurants. I am a proud Spartan and have received both my undergraduate and my law degree from Michigan State University.  

In law school, I always thought that estate planning seemed like a nice area of law to practice and finally, I can confirm that is true. With estate planning, I get the opportunity to work with and help many people of varying stages and circumstances in life - married or single, those with minor kids, adult “kids”, no kids, four-legged kids, recent graduates, retirees, divorced, or widowed - anyone that is looking to get their affairs in order when it is still a choice as opposed to a requirement. 

As a wife, mother, sister, daughter, niece, and friend, I am aware of the impact my actions or inaction may have on others. This understanding applies to even the simplest tasks, as well as larger ones – like estate planning. I understand that talking about incapacity, death, and estate planning can be a sensitive or even scary topic for some people. However, my main objective is to assist you in addressing your concerns, documenting your wishes, and providing practical insights into the potential benefits, drawbacks, and consequences of having or not having an estate plan.

If you're interested in discussing a new estate plan or reviewing an old one, let’s have a conversation.  You can contact me via email at kelly@michiganlawcenter.com or by calling 586-803-8500

​I look forward to meeting you and having the opportunity to work with you and your family.

Services Offered

There is no "right time" to begin this process, other than after you turn 18. Incapacity and death do not wait until we are ready, retired, "old enough", "have a lot", or send our children off into the world. Now is always the right time to be proactive.

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The Estate Planning Process

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Kelly?

If you enjoy working with approachable and friendly people, Kelly is a fit for you. In addition, she provides prompt, professional, and thoughtful service from the start of your plan to the end. Your matter will be handled directly by Kelly and you will not be handed off to a paralegal or other support staff.

Kelly strives to provide information to her clients so they will gain an understanding of how estate plan documents can help during their lifetime and GREATLY assist family and loved ones when they need to step in because of incapacity or at death.

When a question comes up you always have someone willing to respond to your email, take your call, and provide an honest answer in a timely manner and if a unique situation presents itself, she works with other attorneys, financial advisors, insurance representatives, CPAs, among others to help assess the situation and provide guidance when necessary.

What is an "Estate Plan" anyways?

A set of documents reflecting your wishes and intentions for your care, and the administration and distribution of your assets (money, property, business interests, vehicles, real estate, etc.). Specifically, documents prepared by an attorney that specify in part:
(1) how you do or do not want your assets distributed or handled in the event of incapacity and/or upon death
(2) who you want or do not want to carry out your plan
(3) who you want or do not want to make your financial or medical decisions in the event that you are legally unable to do so, and
(4) if you have minor children, who you want (again, and who you would not want) to raise them if you could not.

With an estate plan, you are able to rewrite the statutory default laws in place to fit your specific circumstances.

What is a revokable trust?

A Revocable Living Trust, like a Will, is a legal document that contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die and who you want to administer them through a probate or non-probate process. But, unlike a Will, this type of Trust can also outline how you want your assets handled in the event that you are incapacitated (during your lifetime). Also, trusts (if properly funded) avoid probate at death (which a Will may not do), are handled without court supervision (unlike a Will), and can provide creditor protection for assets left for beneficiaries that are minors, spendthrifts, immature, etc. A Trust can be as complex or as straightforward as you'd like to carry out the most specific or broad wishes and plans.

Once you set up and "fund" (retitle assets) a trust with your assets, then you no longer legally own them, your Trust does. However, you retain control over these assets during your lifetime (as the Trustee of this Trust). When you die, trust assets do not require court supervision for their administration or distribution.

Simply, a trust in place is what keeps your estate plan private, your family out of court, and let's you determine the course for you assets, as well as minimize costs.

How Much Does This Cost?

This is not an answer anyone likes, but it's an honest one - "it depends". There are a number of factors that go into determining the price - your wishes regarding your property and assets, your concerns over assets, family situation and dynamic, the complexity of your plan, degree of control and direction that you want to provide to reduce the burden to family and loved ones, your comfort level, the value of your assets, etc. However, usually, there is no cost to you to determine what your fee will be.

The costs for estate planning documents or a complete estate plan can range from $675 to $3,500+. Keep in mind that this price is for much more than "a bunch of documents." Also, what appears to cost less today will likely cost more (money, time, stress) tomorrow. Invest your money now and create a plan that allows you more control over the outcome and provides invaluable details and instructions for your family and loved ones. Why not leave your family members with details and instructions to let them help you when you need it?!

What if I already have an estate plan?

That is great that you have a plan in place. You are among the 45% of Americans that have estate plan documents in place. Now, the questions to ask - are your documents out of date, is what you have still the best plan for you, does it state your current wishes, are the individuals named in your documents still the best to fit each role, are you kids now older and can handle more responsibility?

If your documents were drafted more than 2 or 5 years ago, or there has been a major change in your life (birth, death, divorce, increased/decreased assets), it is a good time to review.

As situations, circumstances, and people in your life change, your estate plan should too.

Contact the office or schedule a meeting online today for a review.

Isn't a will all I need?

Maybe, but probably not. A Will is simply a set of instructions to a judge describing how and to whom you want your assets distributed and who (Personal Representative/Executor) will handle this for you.

Since a Will only takes effect after your death, it cannot and does not provide any planning or instruction if you become physically or mentally incapacitated. If that happens, you might find yourself going through "living probate", which is court supervision to take control of and manage your assets, as well as appointing the person(s) to do this without any input from you.

Aren't documents on the internet just as good?

Maybe... or maybe not. The issue, or one of the issues with things we find on the internet, of course, is that we cannot confirm the preparer or the source. If you use documents that are not prepared by Michigan attorneys, then they might be "good" or they might just provide a false sense of security that your plan is in place. Unfortunately, you won't know how good they are until it might be too late.

Is a DIY estate plan a good idea? Probably not. It is usually a better idea to see a doctor if you don't feel well rather than looking up your symptoms online. Plus, if you do that, you probably have that nagging suspicion "I should probably just call the doctor."

Again, documents that are available online might be fine... or they might cause problems down the road. This could be an expensive internet search. There is no guarantee that these documents will fit your unique situation or are even valid in Michigan.

If you already prepared a “D-I-Y Estate Plan”, your intentions were good, however, it is a good idea to have it reviewed by an attorney.

What if I don't have time to plan, or don't care what happens if I don't plan?

Of course that is your choice, however, the people that will pay the price for your choice will most likely be your children, family, and loved ones who are trying to figure out what to do without your guidance or input during an emotionally charged time.

Most people that have dealt with estate administration in some way will probably tell you that this is stressful, time-consuming, expensive, and a burden for family and loved ones during an emotional time in their lives and they would have gladly paid someone to take care of things BEFOREHAND!

Also, if you have beneficiaries that could use the money or other property that you would leave them, it could be months, if not years, before a probate court settles the estate and distributes your assets to your beneficiaries.

What is probate? Is it so bad anyway?

Probate is a legal process that may be required to distributed your assets. Also, during this process, a Court determines if your Will is valid, your debts are paid, appoints a Guardian for minor children, and then distributes your assets according to the terms of your Will.

If you do not have a Will, or the Will you had is invalid for some reason, your assets are distributed according to Michigan law (this is called Intestate Succession) to people in your blood-line - whether you want them to inherit your assets or not.

If Probate is required for your estate, it is a public process, can be expensive (paying hourly fees to an attorney), and time consuming; however, it is not always necessarily "bad." For some, the idea of a court overseeing their affairs and distribution of property to family or loved ones is preferred. This is probably a minority group, but worth mentioning.

What if I don't have a lot?

Estate Planning is not just for the rich and famous.

Estate Plans are important for everyone - we cannot foresee incapacity during our lifetime, nor can we predict death. Planning ahead allows you to get your ducks in a row as far as your assets (your property) goes should you become incapacitated and after death. This will greatly assist those left behind to navigate the waters without your input.

If you are over 18 years old, single and not a parent, you may only need a simple plan – proper beneficiary designations, a general financial power of attorney, and a healthcare power of attorney.

If you are an unmarried couple, without a power of attorney in place, you may not be able to legally step in if your partner needs someone to make medical or legal decisions for them because you are not a legal spouse or next of kin.

If you have children under age 18, a Will is the document that identifies your choice(s) for a Guardian and Conservator to care for them when you are gone. If you do not have this in place, the Court will make this decision for you.

If you leave money or property to children (or another person) with poor spending habits, no knowledge of financial planning, or creditor issues, you cannot control if your hard-earned money will be quickly wasted. Also, if someone receiving governmental benefits or assistance receives an inheritance, he or she may lose these benefits.

If you prefer organization, planning, control, and avoiding a “see what happens” approach, you are a candidate for an estate plan, which can allow you to control how your assets are managed, distributed, taxed, and protected.

What are the real benefits of an estate plan?

Most importantly, it can help your children, family members, and loved ones when you are not here to help them.

Other benefits include:

Avoiding probate. Probate cost is between 3-8% of the estate’s market value. The time required for probate can be anywhere from 6 months to 2+ years (during which time accounts can be frozen, even if loved ones may need money sooner)
Avoiding “living probate” (conservatorship and guardianship proceedings if you become incapacitated and do not have current (not more than 2-3 years old) powers of attorney in place)
Identifying someone you select and trust to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated
Specifying who will care for your minor children if you are unable to do so
Carrying out charitable objectives
Providing instructions and care for your pets
Protecting assets from divorce and creditors
Designating end-of-life medical wishes
Transferring wealth to others
Planning for business succession
Minimizing tax liability (although there is no Michigan estate (death) tax and the federal estate tax allows for an exemption (in 2021) of $11.7 million per person. For a married couple, that comes to a combined exemption of $23.4 million)

Why do I need a power of attorney? Everyone knows what I want.

At some point during your lifetime, will you deal with a bank, realtor, need to sign a contract, etc. If you are incapacitated and unable to sign a legal document giving someone the legal authority to handle these things for you, a court will appoint someone to do so.

Also, for parents with "children" 18+ years of age (whether you see them this way or not, legally in Michigan they are now adults), you may not be able to access your child's medical records, educational records, or handle financial affairs for them without these documents giving you that power.

You need to have the legal capacity to sign these documents, therefore it is important to have them in place before incapacity or disability arises.

A general (or also referred to as financial) power of attorney, and a healthcare power of attorney, are two essential, basic, estate planning documents, that everyone over 18 years of age should have in place.

What is a ladybird deed?

This type of deed affectionately known as a "Lady Bird" deed (only available in a few states, including Michigan) is a quitclaim deed named after President Lyndon Johnson's wife, because the President was thought to have once used this type of deed to convey land to her upon his death.

A Lady Bird is a type of deed that works to transfer title for your home, or other real estate, with the home remaining in your name during your lifetime, and upon your death, it avoids probate, and goes to whomever you have named as a beneficiary. Simply, it acts as a beneficiary designation for your real property.

If you use a Lady Bird deed, you maintain complete control over your property. You can refinance it, sell it, mortgage it, use it - do whatever you want with the property while you are alive - then at death, the property avoids probate and ownership is transferred to whomever is named (beneficiary) on the deed, which can be individual(s), or even a family trust.

When can I start?

Right now. Tomorrow. Next Week.

It is as simple as completing the appropriate Questionnaire on the website and then scheduling a :30 (virtual or telephone conference) consultation to talk with Kelly, ask some general questions, and review your Questionnaire.

At this meeting you will receive a recommended plan or two and the flat fee for such recommendation(s). When you decide which is right for you, you will receive an Engagement and Retainer Agreement detailing the plan, your responsibilities, and attorney responsibilities to finalize your estate plan and take the next step in planning which is defining distribution of assets and which people you want to fill various roles to help carry out your plan.

"My husband and I were referred to Kelly for our Living Trust. She was patient and did a great job of explaining our options and helping us through the process. We would highly recommend Kelly!"

Joanne and Sal Giacomantonio

"We had the BEST experience working with Kelly to set up our estate plan. She was readily available, answered phone calls and emails promptly and was an excellent communicator. With her expertise, she made a sometimes overwhelming process easy to understand. We couldn't be happier with the services she provided and will not hesitate to recommend her to anyone in need of those services!"

Roberta and Ed S.

"Kelly was instrumental in helping us with our Power of Attorney for our daughter who was going away for college. She made the process very simple for a young person to understand. I am so happy we have this in place because it gives us all piece of mind in case of any emergency."

Yolanda U.

"Thanks Kelly for your expertise in updating and preparing our Durable Power of Attorney and the necessary Documents to pass down to our Heirs our Condominium in an equitable and fair disposition to them."

Robert William Graham

"My husband Joe and I were looking for an attorney that would guide us with creating an estate plan. Kelly was referred to us. Joe and I were very impressed by Kelly's quick reply to our initial inquiry email. We immediately felt so at ease with her professionalism, thoroughness, and warmth. She was genuinely concerned by how best to meet our needs...

Agatha

"I went to The Law Office of Kelly T Braun, PLLC to get a trust created. During our first meeting she was informative and respectful as I did not know what I needed. Kelly was able to explain everything to me in such an understandable way that made the process of creating my trust simple and easy. When having to make the big decisions required when creating a trust Kelly was very understanding and gave me all the time I needed to digest information and create decisions. Overall I really enjoyed the process due to Kelly’s patience and knowledge on Estate Planning."

Carol M.

"Working with Kelly is a joy! It is so important when thinking through such delicate topics to work with someone not only knowledgeable and thorough, but patient and personable! Thank you Kelly for taking the time to understand what I needed!"

M. Hein

"I was looking for a Estate Planning Lawyer and I found Kelly Braun. I would highly recommend Kelly if you are looking for someone to set up your Estate Planning portfolio for you. Kelly is very knowledgeable in regards to Estate Planning. She really helped me in this matter. I am confident that Kelly can assist anyone in need of Estate Planning or even counseling regarding how to handle your Estate. I am glad to have met Kelly Braun and I am well pleased with the results in regards to my Estate Planning portfolio. Thank You Kelly Braun"

M. Brown

"Kelly Braun is a very professional, detailed oriented attorney. She is very knowledgeable in the area of estate planning and in the administration of said estates and trusts. She is very personable and thoughtful in her dealings with clients. I would highly recommend Kelly for legal services especially in the area of estate planing. I work with attorneys everyday as a litigation paralegal so I immediately recognized that Kelly was astute and service driven to assist in the estate planning process."

Suzanne Marquardt

"I was looking for an Lawyer to help me plan my estate who was professional, detail oriented and patient (as I didn't know much about the process or what I needed), and finding Kelly was a blessing. She walked me through the process, took time to explain and re-explain everything and made the process a breeze. The woman knows her stuff! All that with a genuine smile. She is highly recommended."

Kimberly R.

"I had an amazing experience with Kelly. She made a VERY uncomfortable subject easy to discuss and digest. Without her guidance i would have abandoned the process a long time ago. Quick and easy and now my family is protected for the future!! Thanks Kelly!"

Laurel Timoszyk

"Kelly worked with our family over a course of a few months everything was laid in simple form for us to understand Never felt rushed Even after completion she was always there to answer questions Now we have peace of mind that this is complete and she still stays in touch with us to see how we’re doing"

Sukhbir Rangi

"Kelly Braun is a professional knowledgeable attorney. The process of creating my estate plan was thoroughly explained to me and made it painless. She is also a very personable person!"

Mary Anne

"Kelly worked with our family over a course of a few months everything was laid in simple form for us to understand Never felt rushed Even after completion she was always there to answer questions Now we have peace of mind that this is complete and she still stays in touch with us to see how we’re doing"

Marny B.

"Kelly is the best! I needed direction to organize my assets and estate and she was able to do just that giving me great peace of mind in case anything should happen to me. I know all will be taken care of as it should. I appreciate her so much! A true professional and she knows her stuff!"

Christina G.

"I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Kelly T. Braun, an attorney specializing in estate planning and counseling. I am extremely confident in her abilities. Not only did she demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in this area, but she was able to explain the legal process in terms that were understandable to a layperson. She completed my Trust in a very timely fashion. I found her to be professional and thorough, as well as personable and caring. For clients seeking help in this area, I would highly recommend Ms. Braun."

Sharon K.

"We felt comfortable with Kelly and were confident with her recommendations. Her advice was very helpful based on our own particular circumstances. We completely trust her guidance in making our important financial plans for our retirement. She listened carefully to our anticipated future needs."

Linda S.

"Kelly helped me update my Power of Attorney including the medical POA. Her no nonsense, clear approach is exactly what I needed to help me understand what I needed to put in place and all the benefits of doing so. After an upcoming life changing event, Kelly will be updating my trust which is grossly outdated. I've recommended her to family and friends, one of which has sought advise from Kelly. She's the best!"

Marie L.

"I've sent numerous clients to Kelly and she is wonderful at explaining what needs to be done to avoid costly probate and prepares trust to meet my client's needs. She explains things in simple terms and follows up to make certain that things are properly titled. Thank you from all my clients."

Marie Jakubiak-Wright

"Kelly was great to work with in updating my 20 year old Power of Attorney documents. I am getting married in the near future and will have her update my trust at that time knowing she will provide me with very straight-forward, sound advise."

Marie L.