Estate Planning Attorneys in Lima, Ohio
Even adults who do not own many assets should have an estate plan in place. It is the only way to choose what you want to happen to what you own when you are gone. Moreover, estate planning is more than just drafting a will or creating a trust. You can also name those you trust to speak for you if you cannot speak for yourself.
Estate planning can appear confusing and complicated to most people. The fact is, whether you need one document in your plan or many, an experienced estate planning attorney can educate you about what is available, how your wishes can be carried out, and even what the tax and legal implications are for you and your loved ones.
At Siferd & Associates, LPA, we are dedicated to helping clients in Lima, Ohio, and throughout Allen, Hardin, Auglaize, Putnam, Hancock, and Mercer counties, create their estate plans. The decisions are all yours to make. We merely give you the information you need so you can make the best plan for you.
What Makes Estate Planning So Important?
Contrary to popular belief, estate planning does not just involve what happens to your things when you pass away. It also involves taking care of yourself while you are alive but unable to make decisions for yourself. Estate planning involves the creation of documents that express your wishes.
Every adult should execute certain estate planning documents, regardless of their age, wealth, or health. Since no one knows when they will die or become incapacitated, an estate plan is something you should create and update throughout your life as wealth is accumulated, businesses are started, marriages and divorces occur, and children are born or die.
Savvy estate planning can help your loved ones avoid probate or make probate a straightforward and uncontentious exercise. If you die intestate, that is, without a will, your estate can be tied up in probate for a long time and cost significant money while a judge determines how it is distributed.
What Types of Documents May Be Involved in Estate Planning?
There are many estate planning tools you can use to express your wishes. Your estate planning attorney will tailor each one to meet your unique needs.
A will is perhaps the most basic estate planning tool but is extremely important. A valid will means you will not die intestate and the distribution of your assets, however few or many, will not be subject to the law of intestate succession. A will allows you to appoint the person you want to serve as the personal representative or executor of your estate rather than relying on the court to appoint one. It also allows you the opportunity to choose who receives the assets of your estate rather than those entitled to it under intestate succession. Moreover, unlike a trust, a will allows you to name a guardian for a minor child.
There are different types of trusts you can create. A testamentary trust accompanies a will and goes into effect upon your death. Living trusts, which can be revocable or irrevocable, allow you to transfer ownership of your assets to the trust, name the person you wish to serve as trustee to manage it, and name the beneficiaries of the trust. Irrevocable trusts, in particular, have significant tax advantages. Moreover, living trusts are not subject to probate. Therefore, the contents of the trust and its beneficiaries are kept out of the public record. A trust can also provide for your support and care if you become incapacitated.
There are also many types of powers of attorney you can execute as part of your estate plan. In any power of attorney, you designate someone you allow to make decisions in your stead. Powers of attorney may be general or limited to only certain activities. They may end upon your death or, if it’s a durable power of attorney, allow the person of your choosing to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated or when you die.
Advance healthcare directives give you the opportunity to direct what type of medical treatment you wish to receive if you are unable to express those wishes for yourself. Among the types of healthcare directives are living wills, durable powers of attorney for healthcare, do not resuscitate orders (DNRs), Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), and instructions for organ and tissue donations. Regardless of age, every adult should execute advance healthcare directives.
Beneficiary designations apply to assets you can earmark for someone to keep that asset from being subject to probate. Examples include naming a beneficiary on a life insurance policy or retirement or investment account. You can also name a beneficiary to bank accounts, vehicles, and real property using transfer on death or title on death designations.
How Can an Attorney Help With My Estate Plan?
As you can see, there are many estate planning tools available. The challenge is determining which ones work best for your wishes and tailoring them to express them. An estate planning attorney from Siferd & Associates, LPA can help you find the right solutions for your unique needs. Moreover, your attorney can help you keep your estate plan current by updating it as circumstances in your life change.
Estate planning documents that fail to comply with Ohio law are useless. Your attorney will ensure that your documents adhere to the law and are enforceable if challenged in court.
If you choose to establish a trust, your estate planning attorney can provide administration for that trust. Your attorney can also help administer your estate during the probate process. Your attorney can be a remarkably valuable asset for helping your personal representative or trustee distribute your estate and manage your trust as you intended.
Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Lima, Ohio
Estate planning is only complicated if you don’t understand what you are doing. At Siferd & Associates, LPA, we take the time to educate you, navigate the process, and create a plan that will give you and your loved ones peace of mind. Call Siferd & Associates, LPA in Lima, Ohio, to schedule a time to talk. We are ready to help.