Have you taken the necessary steps to protect your future, and that of your family? Perhaps you have read or heard that you should have an estate plan. For those that have considered the topic but not yet acted, there may be different reasons. Maybe you think that only the wealthy need an estate plan or that an estate plan is some complicated construct that is just not necessary. Maybe you think that an estate plan would be too expensive. On the other hand, maybe you are not sure what an estate plan entails.
To answer the last question first, an estate plan is simply a set of legal documents designed to direct the disposition of your assets, or estate, at death. Estate plans also consider and plan for situations prior to death where an individual needs assistance making legal decisions. Commonly, an estate plan will include a will, financial and healthcare powers of attorney, and a living will. In some circumstances, an estate plan may also include a trust, revocable or irrevocable. The type of trust needed depends on the goals you are trying to accomplish. Of course, a properly drafted plan will be based on many case-specific factors that will point towards the needs and solutions for a given individual.
As you can see, a basic estate plan is rather uncomplicated and ultimately important to have in place. The expense of an estate plan will vary depending on the plan’s extent. Specific costs would not therefore be appropriate to discuss in this type of setting. However, a basic plan is generally inexpensive with its value in peace of outweighing the initial cost.
Thank you for taking the time to read this short post. Please check back in the coming days for follow-up discussions on different estate planning documents.
The information provided above is not legal advice. The information presented is a short summary of the stated issue and is not intended to be relied upon in any specific circumstance.
In Ohio, as in other jurisdictions, when a person dies without a valid will, he or she died “intestate.” At death, if a person has a valid will, that person’s estate will pass according to the provisions of the will. On the other hand, if that person died intestate, the estate will pass according to Ohio’s Descent and Distribution statute.
With that in mind, the question asked above may seem logical. However, Ohio’s Descent and Distribution statute may not correspond to your wishes regarding the distribution of your estate. For example, consider the following hypothetical scenario. Husband and wife are in their seventies and have been married for five years. Both came to the marriage after their respective previous spouses passed away. Husband has an adult daughter from his first marriage. Husband has an estate valued at $100,000 and wishes his wife to receive $60,000, his daughter $30,000 and his church $10,000. However, if husband dies without a will, his estate will not be distributed according to his wishes. Instead, the statute dictates the estate be distributed in its entirety to his wife ($60,000) and daughter ($40,000).
Certainly, this short article does not exhaust the reasons for having a will but only serves to illustrate why the husband in this example should have had a valid will. Specific needs vary depending on the circumstances and should be addressed individually.
The above question and answer is based on a hypothetical situation. The information provided above is not legal advice. The information presented is a short summary of the stated issue and is not intended to be relied upon in any specific circumstance.
 Ohio Revised Code 2105.06 (C)