Points to consider when preparing a will

Preparing a will is something that isn't necessarily fun, but it is vital to ensure that a person's final wishes are known. The will is a powerful tool that provides instructions for those left behind long after the decedent is gone. It important to ensure that wills are properly written so they are considered valid under Ohio law.

One important aspect for parents with minor children is to ensure a guardian for the children is named. The guardian is the person who would care for the children if both parents die. If a guardian for minor children isn't named in a will, the court will be left to decide the best interests of the children. Another important consideration is that the disposition of certain assets are not affected by a will. Retirement accounts, insurance policies, bank accounts with a payable on death designation, and other assets that have beneficiaries listed will be distributed after the owner's death in accordance with those designations, even when a will provision specifies the contrary.

As tempting as it is to use a do-it-yourself will, it is important for people to understand that these aren't appropriate for many situations. People who have complicated estates might not find what they need in a DIY will, and there is also a risk that state law procedures won't be complied with, making the will invalid.

A will is certainly the backbone of most people's estate plans, but there are other documents that are often appropriate as well, including health care proxies and financial powers of attorney. A lawyer who has experience in estate planning matters can offer advice that is tailored to a client's particular circumstances.

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