You may think of estate planning as something you can do at a later time and which does not need much thought, as your assets are fairly simple.
However, it is better to determine now who you want to acquire your belongings in the case of an unexpected event, such as your passing or becoming incapacitated in some way, as well as to clarify the decisions you would like others to make on your behalf. Here are the most common reasons why individuals seek out the help of an experienced estate planning attorney to get their affairs in order.
- Avoid probate
The probate process can be time-consuming and costly for your family, especially when you have significant or complicated assets. If you create a living trust rather than a last will and testament, you can place your large assets into the trust while you are alive. Then when you pass or become incapacitated, those items are not subject to probate because they are owned by the trust. Learn more about Ohio probate laws and the required forms to see what you can expect.
- Protect heirs
If you have young children, the state requires you to name a guardian who will take care of the children until they are of legal age. If you have adult children who are not ready to manage complex investments, have creditor problems or may have issues with divorcing spouses attempting to take many of the assets you leave behind, Ohio law allows you to utilize certain strategies in your estate plan to protect your heirs and your finances.
By putting certain distribution rules in place within a revocable trust and designating a trustee who is also a fiduciary, you can protect your heirs from their own bad decisions or misfortunes.
- Protect assets
In today’s world, there is no telling who may try to sue you. It is always better to prepare for the unexpected. A solid estate plan can give you the protection you need and keep your assets out of harm’s way.
Speaking with a lawyer who understands Ohio estate taxes and probate laws can help you decide whether a will or a living trust would benefit you more. An attorney can also help choose other planning strategies to minimize inheritance risks for your beneficiaries.