Why Estate Planning is Important
Upon death or when a person becomes incapacitated, an estate planning document can help determine how to settle the person's affairs and how the estate's assets will be transferred to beneficiaries and heirs. Here are some reasons why estate planning is important:
- Preparation for an uncertain future
- Protecting your assets, property, and investments
- Making adequate provisions for your surviving loved ones
- Choosing a dependable person as your personal representative
- Protecting your minor children and making sure that they are cared for
- Ensuring that you have complete control over the person who inherits your assets
- Avoiding challenges, family conflicts, and disputes over property distribution
- Helping inheritors avoid or mitigate gift and estate taxes
- Avoiding the expensive and lengthy probate process
- Protecting your assets and investments from creditors and lawsuits.
- Ensuring that you don't die intestate (without a will)
Important Documents in an Estate Plan
If you're thinking of creating an estate plan, there is a variety of documents to consider. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your unique situation, here are some important estate planning documents to consider:
A will can be described as a legal document containing certain instructions about how a person's assets and property should be transferred to inheritors or disposed of upon their death. You can name a guardian in your will to handle, manage, and cater to your minor children's affairs, interests, and any inheritance left behind for them.
A trust is a fiduciary relationship whereby a person (trustor or guarantor) appoints a third-party (trustee) to manage their final affairs and help distribute assets to inheritors upon their demise. A trust may include all the deceased estate's assets, including bank accounts, investments, real estate property, savings, and business interests. Upon your death or after sudden incapacitation, the appointed successor trustee will intervene and administer your estate in accordance with the terms and provisions of the trust document.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney gives someone of your choosing the duty and power to act on your behalf for financial and legal matters when you are no longer capable of doing so. You can designate the responsibility to your advisor, attorney, friend, or a trusted family member.
Advance Healthcare Directive
An advance healthcare directive can be described as a legal document that gives certain instructions regarding a person's desired medical care in the event that they become unable to make such decisions by themselves.
Special Needs Planning
Special needs planning is a fiduciary relationship whereby an individual choose a trusted person to manage or oversee any property, asset, or funds left behind for their minor children or an incapacitated adult who isn't in a position to manage such assets or funds on their own due to their condition.
Personal Property Memorandum
The personal property memorandum is a document that permits a person to give tangible personal property that may not be covered in their will as gifts. Valuables such as jewelry, artwork, furniture, and other household items can be given as gift using a personal property memorandum.
Letter of Intent
Since you cannot write all instructions or wishes in a Will, you can inform surviving loved ones about certain things you wish they do after your death using the letter of intent. It can contain instructions, requests, financial information, and other important personal information that you may not include in your trust or will.
Work With an Experienced Attorney
Getting your affairs in order and preparing for the uncertainties of life can never happen too early or too late. In the event that you are unavailable or unable to voice your opinion, your surviving loved one can have the needed peace of mind that comes with knowing your true wishes. An experienced Ohio estate planning attorney can help protect your property, interests and explore your estate planning options.
At The Law Office of Gregory L. Williams, I have dedicated my career to providing comprehensive legal services and knowledgeable guidance to clients in various estate planning matters. As your legal counsel, I can help review your unique circumstances and decide the ideal estate planning option that best suits your unique needs. Using my extensive experience, I will help you make informed decisions and guide you through every step of the entire process. I will work meticulously to address your needs and concerns and those of your loved ones.