Trusts are an important protective measure you can put into place to keep your assets safe. They may be used as part of your long-term care plan so that you won't have to exhaust your assets prior to qualifying for Medicaid or other benefits.
A trust is something you may have heard about but not fully understand. Basically, it's just a financial arrangement that allows a third party to hold your assets on behalf of those who will become your heirs and beneficiaries. There are several kinds of trusts, all of which have their own benefits and downsides.
Imagine wanting to leave your assets to your beneficiaries. You want to leave them a home, an inheritance including funds and many other items. You also want to make sure those funds and assets are protected against taxation and distribution to the wrong individuals.
If you are beginning to plan your estate, one beneficial type of trust to consider setting up is the revocable trust. A revocable trust is one where you can alter or cancel the provisions after you set it up. Unlike the irrevocable trust, this gives you more opportunities if you need to change the terms of the trust.
If you are starting to plan your estate in Ohio, it is likely that you will be trying to avoid probate. As many people know, probate is the standard procedure that takes place when processing a person's estate. While it helps to ensure that assets are distributed according to the will of the deceased person, it is economically inefficient and can take a long time to complete.
People in Ohio who to protect their legacies and care for their families in the future can utilize a number of instruments to pass on their properties. Trusts are one of the most popular estate planning tools because of their flexibility and wide utility that allows people to govern the distribution of their assets while protecting them from taxation. By making use of a trust, a person can put precise directions in place regarding his or her property to benefit his or her family in ways that could be much more difficult to achieve with a simple will.
For many Ohio residents, trusts have been an important part of their estate plans, allowing them greater flexibility and choice in working to ensure that their wishes for their assets are honored. However, some people may wish to make a change to the trust, including making changes to the beneficiaries, trustees or provisions. They may wonder if a new trust is necessary or whether the existing trust can be amended.
The passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has opened up new opportunities for people in Ohio who wish to transfer wealth. Starting in 2018, the exemptions for federal gift and estate taxes have been doubled. An individual can give tax-free gifts up to $11,180,000, and a married couple can give away as much as $22,360,000 without inflicting income tax on the recipients.
Some people in Ohio might want to review their estate planning because there has been a change in the estate tax exemption. The exemption has been changed to more than $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples. Therefore, people who have made provisions in an estate plan to avoid this tax might want to revisit that plan to simply allow the entire estate to go to a surviving spouse.
The likelihood of a dispute over a person's estate plan in Ohio may be higher if the family is a blended one involving stepparents and stepchildren. This is particularly true with stepmothers, largely because women tend to outlive men. The problem is not with stepmothers in particular but with the family tensions that can be exacerbated during times of stress and grief. Studies show that only 20 percent of stepmothers and stepchildren feel close to one another, and the distance in these relationships rarely closes.