Not having a will can be a major estate planning error. If an Ohio resident dies without a will, assets will be distributed according to state law. In such cases, loved ones may have to spend time and potential inheritance money sorting through the probate process.

Another common error is failing to plan for incapacity. An estate holder should have documents that appoint someone to manage their financial affairs and health care in case they become incapacitated. It may also be a mistake to try drawing up these and other documents without the assistance of an attorney. Even minor errors could cause an estate plan to be declared invalid.

Furthermore, one should be careful about how they make beneficiary designations or set up accounts to pass assets directly to beneficiaries. These designations, which may override instructions in a will or trust, must be consistent with the overall estate plan. Therefore, estate plans should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they reflect the current family and asset situation. This may be particularly important for a person with a blended family who needs to make sure their current spouse and all of their children are taken care of.

By working with legal professionals, it may be easier to identify solutions to family and estate planning issues. For example, an estate holder might be unaware of the many uses of a trust. For example, a trust could be set up to pay the rent each month for a relative with special needs. If a loved one is irresponsible with money, a trust can be created that only allows distribution at specific times or appoints a trustee to manage distributions.

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