Estate Planning, Last Will and Testament

You can decide for yourself – and for your family – what happens to your property at the time of your death. The area of law known as estate planning includes:

Estate Planning Legal Services

Estate planning involves very personal legal issues, as well as private concerns and decisions. In preparing your Last Will and, or, trust agreement, you must make important determinations about how to dispose of your assets, taking into account tax consequences and family relationships. If you have minor children, you will need to consider the appointment of a guardian (or guardians) to take care of the children in the event of your untimely death. Estate planning has changed dramatically during the past generation – and it will continue to do so into the future. Within the next few years, there very well might be significant changes in federal and state laws, especially as to estate taxation.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to do estate planning. In consultation with trusted advisors, you should decide what is best for you and your family, rather than do estate planning based on what a friend or relative or advertisement or slick marketing campaign might have “pushed” on you. A “normal” package of estate-planning documents might include the following:
  1. a Last Will (perhaps, with a “built-in” trust);
  2. for some, a “living trust”;
  3. a “living will” and health care power of attorney, maybe addressing organ donation;
  4. a general “business” power of attorney; and,
  5. if necessary, a specialized power of attorney (for example, to transfer real estate).

The philosophy of our firm is to find the “right fit” of estate-planning devices for you. We do not try to fit you into a prepackaged set of documents. We start the client-attorney relationship in the area of estate planning with no perceived notions about what estate-planning tools would be best for you. You will have considerable input into – and the final say in – decision-making for your estate planning.

Many clients have heard about, and are interested in, “avoiding probate”. (That phrase usually refers to eliminating or reducing the need to administer a decedent’s estate through the Probate Court.) We will be prepared to talk with you about ways to do so – and whether it is advisable in your particular situation. Under Ohio law, there are a number of ways to “avoid probate”, including: titling assets in joint-and-survivorship form; designating beneficiaries in one manner (for example, of life-insurance policies or retirement plans) or another (such as by transfer-on-death or payable -on-death labels); lifetime gifts; and, a “living trust”.

Our discussion of estate planning will include:

Tax implications, as to both estate and income taxes; a review of life insurance policies and needs; and, an introduction to long-term care insurance. Because we do not sell insurance products, we feel comfortable talking openly with you about the advantages and disadvantages and costs vs. benefits of such products. Of course, we do not claim to be experts in the insurance field. We will try simply to give you an unbiased and objective view of your needs and considerations.

Before you come in for your initial consultation, please download and fill out the Estate Planning Client Information form.