What Legal Documents are Essential to an Ohio Estate Plan?
Each estate plan is unique and requires its own set of documents depending on your wishes and what you want to protect and pass to your loved ones after death. Some essential legal documents commonly used in an Ohio estate plan are a will, a trust, an advance health care directive, and a power of attorney.
Understanding Last Wills and Testaments in Ohio
A last will and testament provides directions to your survivors regarding your wishes for asset and property distribution upon your death. If you have minor children, your will also designates their guardians. Your Ohio will also informs the court which individuals are entitled to your Ohio estate. The document’s instructions don’t affect you during your lifetime. However, it’s a good idea to keep your family members and friends updated on its contents to avoid any confusion during probate or trust administration.
Understanding Ohio Trusts
There are many different types of trusts, and they can be either revocable or irrevocable. Trusts often provide key tax benefits while allowing you to maintain a certain level of control over your property and assets. Typically, you would name a trustee or co-trustee to oversee your trust administration.
Understanding Advance Health Care Directives in Ohio
You may have particular wishes about the medical treatment you would and would not like to receive in certain circumstances. An Ohio advance health care directive, also known as power of attorney for health care, provides clear directions for your loved ones to follow if you can’t make decisions for yourself due to incapacitation. You may revoke this directive at any time.
Understanding Ohio Durable Powers of Attorney
This arrangement allows you to name another person, 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.
It’s Essential to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones with an Estate Plan
Everyone needs an estate plan to protect their family. An estate plan is critical regardless of your age, marital status, or the size of your assets. No two families are alike; therefore, no two estate plans are alike. Seif & McNamee, LLC will tailor an estate plan to meet your specific needs and goals. We create simple or complex wills, trusts, probate avoidance tools or techniques, and power of attorney agreements.
A carefully constructed estate plan that is frequently updated will avoid excess taxes and ensure the fulfillment of your final wishes. Often, your savings on Ohio estate taxes will far exceed the costs of attorneys’ fees for a comprehensive estate plan. A will or trust is critical if you have minor children so you can clarify who will care for them upon your death and ensure they are financially provided for until they reach an appropriate age.
What Happens if You Don’t Have an Ohio Estate Plan?
The failure to have a comprehensive plan can cause distress to your loved ones in their time of grief. An up-to-date estate plan will alleviate most, if not all, of your family’s anxiety about your final wishes for your Ohio assets and liabilities after you are gone.
Without an Estate Plan, Your Loved Ones Could Face Ohio Probate Court
Probate in Ohio is usually a lengthy, expensive process where beneficiaries acquire the title and ownership of assets from a deceased relative or friend. Once the probate court determines a person’s right to personal or real property, this decision is final, and the court will recognize no future claims against your estate. The transfer of assets through the Ohio probate process is often the slowest, costliest, least convenient, and least efficient option. A probate lawyer can help your family gather the necessary information, answer questions, file paperwork, and represent them in court.
What Happens in Probate Court?
Probate is a formal process 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 don’t have a will, the court may assign someone — usually a close relative — to serve as your administrator (similar to an 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 you can control how your assets and property get distributed after you pass away.
Our expert estate planning lawyers can help minimize or eliminate the need for Ohio probate if your plan is complete and properly maintained. Unfortunately, some family situations can’t avoid probate, requiring the process to ensure the deceased’s final wishes despite a detailed and well-planned estate plan. Our probate attorneys in Chillicothe can guide your family under these circumstances.
The Value of Working with an Ohio Estate Planning Lawyer
Seif & McNamee, LLC is here to help you and your loved ones understand business law, personal injury, estate planning, elder law, probate, collections, and municipal law. Our experienced Ohio lawyers help you accomplish more. We welcome you to contact our Chillicothe or Waverly law firm to learn more about how we can help you achieve favorable results in business and personal legal matters in Southern Ohio, statewide, and across the Midwest.