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What You Need to Know About Making a Plan for Your Estate

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What You Need to Know About Making a Plan for Your Estate

Most people don’t enjoy thinking about estate planning because they think it’s acknowledging their death. But in reality, estate planning is about control over your assets—both while you are alive and after you have passed away. Estate planning is the process of planning in advance who you would like to handle your affairs and receive your assets after you die or if you are incapacitated.

The goal of estate planning is to ensure your beneficiaries can receive your assets in a way that minimizes taxes and eliminates unnecessary stress. It’s essential that you sit down with an estate planning attorney to discuss your options.

Basic Parts of an Estate Plan

Regardless of your goals in planning your estate, your plan will likely include the following:


This legal document coordinates the distribution of your assets after you are gone. You can also name guardians for minor children in your will. Without a will, you turn over the decision-making on the distribution of assets to the state. It’s called dying “intestate,” and in Ohio, a probate court will divide your assets among your next of kin. If your wishes include distribution to friends or charities, without a will, this will not happen.

Living will/advanced healthcare directive

A will only works on your behalf after you pass away. This is why your estate plan should also have a living will that provides information on your wishes if you are incapacitated. You will appoint a person to make decisions about your healthcare if you are no longer able to do so. For example, if you do not wish to receive artificial life-sustaining treatment such as a breathing machine or feeding tube, your living will can provide these instructions.

HIPAA waiver

Because of medical privacy laws, physicians and hospitals are not allowed to share your medical information with anyone—not even your family. A HIPAA waiver will enable doctors to share your medical information with trusted representatives.

Power of attorney

This is a written directive that allows someone to manage your financial affairs if you are medically unable to do so. The directive is null upon your death.


Not everyone needs to have a trust as part of their estate plan, but the best way to know is to sit down with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Why You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer

You might be wondering if you really need an estate planning lawyer, but you should keep in mind that planning your estate is a complicated and serious business. One small error can have huge ramifications that result in your end-of-life wishes not being followed.

If one or more of the following circumstances apply to your situation, you will benefit from hiring an estate planning attorney:

  • You have substantial assets.
  • You are a business owner.
  • You own property in more than one state.
  • You were recently divorced or widowed, or are in a second marriage.
  • You have children under the age of 18, and you wish to name guardians in the event of your untimely death.
  • You have a child with special needs, and you want to create a trust to protect any government services they are receiving.
  • You want to leave some or all of your estate to a charitable organization.
  • You want to leave some of your estate or specific items from your estate to nonfamily members.

Without planning, a probate lawyer might be the one making the decisions about the distribution of your assets after you are gone.

Contact Jarvis Law Office for Ohio Estate Planning

You’ve worked a lifetime to ensure that your family is taken care of. Don’t let lack of planning leave them in a difficult situation after you are gone. There is no time like the present to start the estate planning discussion. Contact Jarvis Law Office today.

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