CINCINNATI ESTATE PLANNING LAWYERS
CONTACT US: 513-752-0001. HERE TO LISTEN. HERE TO HELP.
WHAT CAN ESTATE PLANNING DO FOR YOU?
In the most basic terms, proper estate planning can protect you and your family’s financial future in the event of your death or incapacity. Additionally, important decisions regarding your healthcare and well-being are also impacted by estate planning, so it is always a great idea to be prepared in the event that something goes wrong.
Often, a simple set of estate planning documents can go a long way. Generally, we prepare for clients the following:
Last Will & Testament – Directs what happens to assets and debts, and can be used to set up Trusts and Guardianships for minor children, etc.
Power of Attorney for Financials – Names individuals to act on your behalf for financial decision-making purposes should you become incapacitated. These can be open-ended or more limited, depending on the client’s wishes.
Power of Attorney for Health Care – Names individuals to act on your behalf for medical decision-making purposes should you become incapacitated. These can be open-ended or more limited, depending on the client’s wishes.
Living Will – Leaves instructions for treatment should you become incapacitated. Similar to a health care power of attorney.
Call 513-752-0001 to have your Estate Planning Sets completed today. We offer low prices, and discounts for couples.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T HAVE A WILL?
A Will, formally known as a “Last Will and Testament,” is a document describing what is to happen to one’s property after they pass.
A will can be used to make specific gifts to certain persons, charitable organizations or other entities, to give one’s entire estate to a spouse or other person, to create a trust for the benefit of others and/or minor children, to create a guardianship for the custody of minor children, and more. Without a Last Will & Testament, one’s estate passes by “intestacy” (“without a will”) under the laws of descent and distribution. The laws of descent and distribution essentially outline who gets what, depending on your family layout. These laws, however, do not include language for specific gifts, trusts or guardianships, and may end up including people that one did not intend to include. Thus, it is always important to have a thoughtful and straight-forward estate plan that specifically lays out and instructs what you want to happen with your assets.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO PROTECT MY FAMILY'S FINANCIAL FUTURE?
Only assets that are “probate-able” are considered a part of a person’s estate and can be subject to claims by a creditor. If assets are “outside of the estate,” they pass directly to a named beneficiary and are not included in estate proceedings.
For example, if a husband and wife own a home together but the home is only in the husband’s name, and the husband passes, the value of the home will be subject to probate. However, had the husband and wife held the home in “survivorship” deed form, the home would “pass” outside of probate and automatically belong to the wife. This can help prevent creditors from seeking payment for the husband’s debts and keep the wife and family safe and sound in the home. Also, most attorneys base their fees for estate administration on a statutorily prescribed percentage of the estate’s total value – thus, if the “probate-able” portion of the estate is worth less, less money will be needed to be paid for an attorney to help with the estate.
THE FOLLOWING CAN ALSO BE USED TO KEEP ASSETS OUT OF PROBATE AND AWAY FROM CREDITORS:
Transfer on Death Designations – Any asset can be put into a “Transfer on Death” designation, which immediately vests the asset in the named beneficiary upon the owner’s death. This keeps assets out of probate and away from creditors. Here, the owner of the asset retains ownership and full control unless and until his or her passing, whereby the asset then automatically transfers to the named beneficiary.
Joint Accounts – Similar to Transfer on Death Designations, Joint Accounts can be used to keep assets out of probate. Joint Accounts can be used for bank accounts, investing accounts, and many other types of financial accounts. However, with Joint Accounts, the co-owner also has access to the asset/funds the entire time.
Life Insurance – In Ohio, life insurance proceeds always pass outside of an estate. Here, the named beneficiary will receive the proceeds and not be subject to collection from the decedent’s debtors.
In all, it is always wise to think ahead and plan for the future. Protecting your family from financial crisis and unneeded stress in an already stressful time goes a long way.
GIVE TEKULVE LAW A CALL AT (513) 752-0001 OR EMAIL US AT INFO@TEKULVELAW.COM TO DISCUSS YOUR ESTATE PLANNING NEEDS TODAY.