Planning for the future is never easy, especially when it comes to determining how you would like to distribute your assets and property once you are no longer here. But establishing a cohesive estate plan is an important step to take—and one that can give you peace of mind as you think about the years ahead.
At Seif & McNamee, our skilled Ohio elder law attorneys provide helpful legal guidance on a broad range of issues, including long-term care and estate planning. We start the process with a conversation, going over your needs, goals, and current circumstances. We then develop a plan based on what we learn, outlining the best possible strategy for you and your loved ones. When choosing an elder law attorney, look no further than our experienced team.
An estate plan tailored to your needs
No two estate plans are exactly the same, and it’s important to create a strategy that works best for you, your loved ones and your level of wealth. The following are some of the most common elements of the estate planning process:
Last will and testament: This is a legal document that provides directions to your survivors on how you would like to distribute your assets and property upon your death. It also informs the court which individuals are entitled to your estate. This document has no effect on you during your lifetime, although it’s a good idea to keep your family members and friends updated on its contents to avoid any confusion later on.
Trust: There are many different types of trusts, and they can be either revocable or irrevocable. Trusts often provide key tax benefits, while also allowing you to maintain a certain level of control over your property and assets. Typically, you would name a trustee or co-trustee to over see your trust administration.
Advance healthcare directive: You may have certain wishes related to the medical treatment you would and would not like to receive in certain circumstances. An advance healthcare directive, also known as power of attorney for healthcare, provides clear directions for your loved ones to follow if you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to incapacitation. You may revoke this directive at any time.
Durable power of attorney: This arrangement allows you to name another person, called an agent, to oversee your financial or business affairs if you become ill or incapacitated. Your agent should be someone you trust to make good decisions on your behalf. Again, you may revoke a power of attorney arrangement at any time.
How should you plan for long-term care?
The cost of nursing home care shocks many people, as it can quickly eat away your savings if you don’t plan properly for it. One way to avoid this problem is through Medicaid planning, which can allow you to preserve your assets and income while still passing down your wealth to your beneficiaries.
You may also purchase long-term care insurance, which covers the costs of a nursing home and other care you may need as you grow older. These policies can be expensive, however, so it’s important to consult an elder lawyer to learn more about your options.
What happens in probate court?
Probate is the formal process the court uses to resolve an estate after a person’s death. The court validates your last will and testament and allows your estate executor to pay all debts and distribute assets to your beneficiaries. If you do not have a will, the court may assign someone—usually a close relative—serve as your administrator (similar to a executor but they will be required to obtain a performance bond from an insurance provider). It’s best to have a will in place so that you can control how your assets and property get distributed after you pass away.
Why do you need an elder law attorney?
Although it is possible to conduct estate planning using tools available online, proper planning requires a tailored approach based on your needs, goals, and circumstances. A skilled lawyer will listen to you, consider a wide range of factors and develop an estate plan that gives you ultimate peace of mind.
Meet with a knowledgeable Ohio elder law attorney today
For further guidance on wills, trusts, long-term care planning, and otherestate planning issues, consult a dedicated Ohio elder law attorney at Seif & McNamee. From our offices in Waverly and Chillicothe, we serve individuals and families throughout the state. Give us a call at 740.835.4882 to get started.