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Estate plans and probate considerations

Ohio assets could be subject to probate in the event of their owner's death if certain steps have not been taken to avoid this situation. For example, an intestate estate would be handled through probate to ensure that distribution of assets reflects the laws related to inheritance in the state. Even when an individual leaves a will, a document that has not been handled legally could be subject to changes in the distribution of one's belongings. However, people who are concerned about their wishes being carried out can take several steps to minimize the potential for probate activity.

The distribution of assets could be handled through a revocable living trust instead of going through probate. A will may still be used to transfer any remaining assets into the trust, but this would significantly minimize exposure to the costs and legal tangles of probate. A living trust can also provide for management of one's assets if the grantor becomes incapacitated.

Some assets don't need to be designated in a trust or a will. In fact, a beneficiary designation on a retirement account will override any contrary provision in a will. The beneficiary can be a trust if the account owner wants such funds to be handled within the trust. It is crucial that the designations for such accounts be reviewed in case of serious family changes to ensure that the funds are distributed to the desired party.

Tax implications of one's estate could play an important role in the distribution of these assets. Legal and financial advice may be important for ensuring that there is not a major loss of value because of federal estate taxes.

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