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Estate planning may be a valuable gift to one's loved ones

Estate experts in Ohio and elsewhere would likely agree that the spirit of Valentine's Day justifies a special kind of gift for one's family: the gift of an estate plan that will protect the family if one becomes disabled and unable to handle his or her own affairs. It is also the gift of knowing that, when the person dies, his or her wishes will govern the distribution of assets. In addition, estate planning assures that all measures will be taken to protect the assets against certain creditors and protect those assets for the designated heirs.

It is always the right time to make a will or a living trust, and have all other vital planning documents that will work to prevent excessive expenses if the individual becomes incapacitated or dies. To prevent an all-out battle in court over the court appointment of a guardian or conservator, the relative must assign a power of attorney while alive and competent. Otherwise, significant financial assets may be squandered while arguing over the issue inside a courtroom.

If the court appoints a guardian, there may be ongoing expenses that become burdensome. Other benefits of devising an estate plan now include the possible need to provide for a disabled child, providing for the care of minor children and assuring that the right persons are appointed for all potential positions of trust. This may include an executor, a power of attorney appointment, and trustees for a living trust and/or for testamentary trusts.

There are other estate planning issues under Ohio law that can be resolved while the person is alive and able to work cooperatively with his or her estate planning attorney. This may include providing for the right heirs to inherit the assets when one has become remarried and the new spouse has children of his or her own. In that case, most people want to assure that their own natural children inherit their assets or at least a fair share of them. There are many options and plans that are available; all that is required to start is a meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney to discuss what measures will be appropriate and desired.

Source: gwinnettcitizen.com, "Estate Planning | Love Deserves More than Candy and Flowers", James Miskell, Feb. 10, 2018

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