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Start the estate planning process with some basic preparations

Estate planning in Ohio is an important task for every person, especially if they want to make it easier on their heirs after their death. The following is a list of things to do to get ready for the important meeting with an estate planning attorney to get the process started. Once one gets that first meeting accomplished, everything will go smoothly thereafter because one's legal needs will be satisfied by an experienced professional.

A list of all assets is usually the first thing to prepare. This includes the house, other real estate, investments, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, cars, valuable art and other personal items, and so on. Copies of policies and accounts, along with deeds, mortgages, and other indicia of ownership should be made and put in a folder to take to the first meeting. Don't forget to include all debts, significant loans, credit cards and the like.

The information to go over with the estate planning attorney includes identification of those individuals or entities that one wishes to handle the estate as executor, trustees, health care proxies and an agent to serve as one's power of attorney. Also make sure that all pay on death accounts are identified for the attorney. The provisions of the will can be discussed at the first meeting, but some thought should go into it before the meeting.

For more complicated estates, a financial planner or adviser may be brought into the discussion and coordination with the Ohio estate planning attorney arranged. Professionals of that caliber are used to working together for the best outcome for the client. Another important subject currently is to inform the attorney what should be done with all of the digital accounts that the individual has amassed. Instructions must be provided for each account to avoid controversy and even post-death litigation over who has the power to control one's digital information and assets.

Source: investopedia, "Estate Planning: 16 Things To Do Before You Die", Stan Murray, March 27, 2018

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