Wills Archives

Letter of final wishes in estate planning

Ohio residents who are considering estate planning may not be aware of an important document that they can draft for their loved ones. A letter of final wishes (LFW) is a personal document that has no legal standing but can provide explanations for heirs that could help them to better understand and carry out the deceased's wishes.

Possible estate tax reforms on the horizon

Rumors of estate tax reform could create new questions for people in Ohio who have already set up an estate plan. Their plans would have been based on current tax laws, and many people create trust structures to control tax exposure to heirs. The potential repeal of estate taxes and generation-skipping taxes presents an opportunity to consider how to update an estate plan should the laws change. Such a proactive analysis could enable someone to quickly rework a plan in the event of tax reforms and limit the amount of time that an obsolete plan is in effect.

Making the location of a will known

Ohio residents should be sure to inform their loved ones about the location of important estate-planning documents. According to a December 2016 survey from BMO Wealth Management, one-third of people have told their beneficiaries where to find their powers of attorney or will. An additional 10 percent have provided copies of the original documents to their heirs.

How to answer key estate plan questions

One issue that Ohio residents may face when creating an estate plan is who to turn to in case of an emergency. This question may prevent individuals from creating wills and trusts or granting potentially necessary powers of attorney. Making things more difficult is the fact that there are no set rules when it comes to choosing an agent under a power of attorney or a guardian for a minor child.

Points to remember in an estate plan

There are several aspects of an estate plan that Ohio residents may overlook. For example, in addition to a primary beneficiary, testators should name alternate beneficiaries. This is not just in case of the death of the primary beneficiary but also in the event that the beneficiary is a minor or is unable to manage their assets.

Important things to keep in mind regarding estate planning

While it may seem to be a rather unpleasant task, having an effective estate plan can relieve surviving family members from huge troubles, including the estate having to go through months or years of probate. By taking a few steps, Ohio residents may be able to avoid this scenario from happening to their families after they die.

Most adults don't have a will

Most Ohio adults don't want to think about the possibility of dying, and that may be one of the reasons why so many people don't write a will. According to a survey that was taken by Caring.com, almost 6 out of 10 adults in the United States haven't created a will or a living trust.

Multiple deaths in a family could undermine an estate plan

For the most part, people draw up estate plans only considering their own deaths. However, some tragedies may affect multiple loved ones at once. If heirs die at the same time as the testator, the estate plan could unravel. An analysis of Ohio estate tax laws and the insertion of specific language could head off legal complications and prevent a court from directing assets to a distant relative.

Record of account passwords essential for estate plans

Most people in Ohio have some type of financial account that requires a password for online access. When someone dies suddenly and the relatives have no idea how to log in to bank accounts, email accounts or a personal computer, difficulties can arise. A person might be blocked from getting the specific information necessary for probate court, or no one will have any way to access and manage investments. Lawyers and financial planners recommend that people write down and securely store critical information like passwords and personal identification numbers for bank accounts, cell phones, email and online records.

Bequeathing assets unequally but fairly

Some Ohio parents may not want to leave their children equal inheritances in their will. However, just because a parent chooses to leave one child more money than another child does not mean that the parent wanted to be unfair. There are many different reasons for not splitting assets equally that have nothing to do with favoritism.

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