People in Ohio who are aware that they are approaching the end of their life may want to get their estate plans in order. If an estate plan is not completed before a person's death, the person's heirs may have to pay higher taxes, spend more time in probate court or end up losing their expected inheritance altogether.
One of the first things that people should do when they are entering a hospice is to create durable powers of attorney. These documents can allow friends or family members to handle a person's financial affairs if the maker becomes incapacitated.
At the end of a person's life, it is important to go over all of their beneficiary designations and make sure that they reflect their current wishes. Life insurance, retirement and investment accounts all have beneficiary designations that could potentially overrule what is written in a will. People who are approaching the end of their life may also want to consider making charitable gifts while they are still alive. Charitable gifts can yield income tax savings during a person's lifetime, but charitable gifts usually have no estate tax benefits if they are made after death.
An estate planning attorney may be able to help an individual to make sure that their beneficiaries can avoid probate. One of the most effective estate planning strategies that can be used to avoid probate is creating revocable trusts. An attorney may also go over an individual's financial accounts to make sure that the assets in the accounts can pass directly to beneficiaries.