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Mayfield Heights Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

How often should you take another look at your will?

You want to get a will drafted and filed, but you don't think this is something you can just do once and then forget about. How often should you get it back out and go over the details?

Generally speaking, it is best to do this twice per decade, at the very least. Life changes fast. While you don't need a new will every six months, you definitely do not want to pass away with a will that you last considered 20 years ago.

The importance of updating your estate planning materials

Effectively planning for the future can’t be complete in just one simple step, as appealing as that may sound. Taking the time to prepare an initial estate plan is an important step in planning for the long term, but it is not the end of the line. It is important to continue revisiting and revising an estate plan throughout your lifetime.

Once you have created an estate plan complete with a will, trust, living will or other key materials, continue to update these documents over the years. Maintaining a relevant and comprehensive estate plan can help your loved ones and beneficiaries avoid a potentially litigious estate dispute once it comes time to utilize these plans.

Long-term care can have a devastating financial impact

A lack of planning for long-term care can leave a family in dire straights, financially speaking. Many people underestimate exactly what it costs or how much care they will need.

For example, one woman told a story about taking care of her mother as she grew older. That younger woman was in charge of her mother's money and legal decisions; she had the power of attorney.

How does a judge decide whether to set up a guardianship?

When many people hear the term "guardian" being used, they often think about a child who maybe isn't able to reside with their own biological parents. In those cases, a third party is appointed by a family court judge to take care of them. This isn't the only type of guardianship that exists.

Third parties may be allowed to establish a conservatorship or guardianship in order to be able to advocate for a mentally incapacitated individual.

How can I avoid probate in Ohio?

If you are starting to plan your estate in Ohio, it is likely that you will be trying to avoid probate. As many people know, probate is the standard procedure that takes place when processing a person's estate. While it helps to ensure that assets are distributed according to the will of the deceased person, it is economically inefficient and can take a long time to complete.

This is why many people who are planning their estate decide to put some of their assets in trusts. Assets that are placed in trusts are able to avoid the probate process. In addition to creating trusts, there are several other ways to avoid probate that may be easier to organize and manage.

Why you should think about creating a will

The thought of having a last will and testament drawn up makes many people uncomfortable. Some describe it as feeling like they are planning their own demise. These feelings are understandable, but they should not keep you from preparing a will.

An estate planning attorney can help you overcome these feelings by showing you that wills are legal documents that allow you to put this and other estate planning documents in place. Once you learn to accept the notion as just another loose end to tie up in life, you will probably feel more comfortable about it.

Alternative IRA options for the self-employed

When it comes to determining the right path towards retirement, many Ohio workers often debate on whether a traditional or Roth IRA is right for them. They often discuss which option is better for tax breaks, withdrawals and distributions in the long run. With the constantly changing economy and rules towards both systems, it can be difficult to decide.

However, what many do not know is that there are more options available that are more designed for specific demographics. If you are a business owner, there are several programs available that can potentially benefit you more than the two most popular retirement plans. It is imperative that you know about these IRAs before making a final decision to see which is right for you.

Long-term care planning: Housing options for seniors

For many Ohio seniors, there may come a time when they can no longer care for themselves properly. This usually means that living alone in one's home is no longer a safe option. One of the largest concerns for senior citizens is how to ensure that their care continues without burdening their families. Long-term care planning can help seniors choose care options that will pose the least amount of inconvenience for their adult children.

Most senior citizens want to preserve their independence for as long as possible. This is something that they and their children should consider when making decisions about where an senior will live. To help families make the right choice, following are four residential options to consider when doing your long-term care planning.

  • Retirement communities: For seniors who can function independently, these communities promote independence while enabling residents to socialize with other seniors.
  • Nursing homes: These are often the best choice for ill or disabled seniors who require skilled nursing and/or ongoing physician care.
  • Assisted living: For seniors who do not need skilled care, these communities promote independence while also providing staff members to help residents address their daily needs.
  • The family home: This option involves the senior living with his or her family. It is a great way to maintain close, loving relationships while ensuring that seniors receive quality care and preserve their independence.

Picking a trustee

Sometimes, people here in Ohio end up including trusts in their estate plans. Trusts can be aimed towards a variety of goals. How successful a trust ultimately is at achieving its intended goals can be affected by many things. This includes how the trustee acts.

The trustee is the person in charge of managing the property put into the trust, pursuant to the trust's terms. So, who a person picks as trustee can have very big impacts.

Have you lost a relative who had no will or trust?

If a parent or relative has recently passed away, you and your family could be overcome with emotion. Finding out that the deceased has left no will or trust can make this heartache even more painful.

It is estimated 60 percent of Americans do not have wills, according to a survey. Do not worry. You are not in a unique position. With the right advice, your family can tackle this difficult challenge.

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