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Estate planning is for everyone

Many people living in Ohio believe that they do not need an estate plan yet. They might think this because they are relatively young and healthy or because they have few assets and don't see any reason to designate what happens to these assets after they die.

The truth is, however, that estate planning has relevance for everyone. Death or incapacitation can happen to anyone at any time. In addition, even small estates must be settled under the law. If an individual dies without a will, what little they have may be eaten up in court costs and legal expenses. Besides, failure to create an estate plan that includes a living will and medical directives can, in some instances, trigger family disputes.

In addition to writing a will, documenting end-of-life wishes and naming beneficiaries of insurance policies and retirement accounts, some individuals and couples may also decide to put some of their assets into trusts. Doing so can offer significant tax advantages. For example, it may be possible for a parent to place a home into a trust for a child, yet the parent can retain the right to live there during his or her lifetime.

Another consideration is charitable giving. Some people don't have close family members to whom they'd like to leave their estate. Others may wish for their estate plan to reflect a commitment to a particular cause. In such cases, a will might designate some assets to a charitable organization.

Many people may benefit from speaking with an experienced estate attorney. A lawyer may be able to review a client's financial situation and make recommendations regarding estate planning, including wills, trusts and end-of-life medical issues. The attorney may also be able to create trusts to protect a client's assets from overly burdensome taxation.

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