Many Ohio residents think that having an estate plan is only for people who have a sizable amount of assets. In actuality, though, such a plan can provide protection for people of far lesser means as well.

At its core, estate planning described a process through which people can determine how and to whom their property will be distributed after they die. While most people are familiar with wills, a large portion of the U.S. population doesn’t even have that basic document. And there are many other estate planning tools in addition to a will as well that many people are not familiar with.

A well-crafted estate plan will also include a power of attorney that will give a trusted individual the right to make certain decisions in the event that the principal becomes incapacitated and is unable to do so. This could include health care as well as financial decisions, and in some cases it may be wise to appoint two or more people as attorneys-in-fact.

Long-term care insurance is an estate planning tool that can be used to ensure an individual is able to receive the care he or she needs later in life without draining the assets that are intended to be left to heirs. Trusts can be useful as well in many situations. One could be when it is believed that a beneficiary would squander a lump sum inheritance left under a will. A trust could contain language that could spread out distributions or make them contingent upon the beneficiary achieving certain milestones.

There are other types of estate planning documents that could be useful depending upon financial and family circumstances. People who want to learn more about this subject may want to meet with an attorney and discuss their situations and goals.

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