Does the idea of estate planning make you feel a little uncomfortable? If so, you’re not alone. You can’t help but confront your own mortality when considering an estate plan, which is hard for everyone. However, it’s risky to grow older without a plan. Without a plan, you are essentially handing over control to the state of Ohio after your death. The state will choose who receives your assets and cares for your minor children. Also, the state will decide who will care for you and who will control your money, if you are alive but can no longer make decisions.
Fortunately, an Ohio trust and will lawyer can help you maintain control.
Your Ohio trust and will lawyer will likely recommend that you draft a will. The will is usually the foundation of an estate plan and allows you to choose who will receive your property and care for your minor children. Your will won’t go into effect until you pass away. That means that as long as you are of sound mind, you can revoke or modify it whenever you wish.
Your will must go through probate after you pass away. Once it clears probate, the executor will distribute your property according to your instructions.
Your attorney can assist with the entire process, from drafting the will to representing your family during probate. Then, you and your family won’t have to worry about what will happen to your estate.
However, most people want to avoid probate. Since the Will is the set of instructions for Probate, a Will may not be what you want to direct the distribution of your assets upon your passing.
Probate can be avoided. A Trust is a good tool for doing that, and providing direction during your lifetime as well as upon your passing.
A trust is just another way to hold your stuff. A trust can put instructions in place to address multiple possibilities or scenarios. It is a much more flexible tool than a will.
Your trust and will lawyer might recommend a trust after reviewing your estate. While there are lots of options, all trusts have three main components. First, there is the creator of the trust. Then, there is the trustee and, finally, the beneficiary.
When you create a trust, you transfer assets into it. Depending on the type of trust, it might shield the assets from creditors and taxes.
Your lawyer will explain your options, including revocable, Asset Protection, and Medicaid planning trusts. Then, you can decide which option makes the most sense for you and your family.
You can create a revocable or irrevocable trust. If you choose a revocable trust, you can serve as the trustee and revoke it at any time. Even an irrevocable trust (the type we use for asset protection and Medicaid benefits eligibility planning) can be undone if it suits your needs. And, contrary to what you might expect, you can make changes to certain types of irrevocable trusts. This is one of the reasons you should consider working with a skilled elder law attorney. Far too many attorneys and other professionals do not fully understand the adaptability and flexibility that can be included in certain types of irrevocable trusts. An irrevocable trust can provide tax benefits. In addition, it can help you plan for long-term care by shielding assets from creditors and an otherwise unfettered long-term care spend down. Speak to your attorney to see which type of trust will benefit you moving forward.
You cannot start too early when it comes to estate planning. And you don’t need to be embarrassed if you haven’t taken any steps yet. Whether you are a young adult or enjoying your golden years, it’s the ideal time to create a will or trust. Once you set up the will and/or trust, you should review your estate plan regularly to see if you need to modify it. Your attorney can assist with this as well.
The most important step is getting started!
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