For many people, a major motivation in planning their estate is making sure that their loved ones are not under a great deal of stress with administrative responsibilities at the end of their life. By taking their time to plan out their estate, perhaps even creating trusts to avoid the probate process, their loved ones are likely to be relieved of many of the bureaucratic processes while they are grieving.
In planning your estate, you are essentially attempting to plan for an uncertain future. None of us will be able to predict what ours and our loved ones' lives will be like in a decade's time. In addition, we are not able to force how laws might change, particularly in regard to taxes and inheritance.
If you're debating whether you need an estate plan, you should probably err on the side of caution and get one. In fact, everyone -- no matter how wealthy he or she is -- receives important benefits from a finalized estate, not just in the financial arena. An estate plan, for example, allows you to indicate a person who will make financial and health decision on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated. Furthermore, an estate plan will indicate who takes care of your children if you're no longer able to do so.
Small business owners in Ohio would be well advised to take a look at the benefits of estate planning for transferring one's share or its value to their heirs at death. This will usually involve a mix of legal instruments drawn from both estate planning and business law agreements to make the transition easier and ultimately more lucrative for one's heirs. The complicated tax issues that may arise in this context are best determined and planned in consultation with an estate planning attorney and a tax expert or qualified financial planner.
It takes some attention and common sense thinking for persons in Ohio or anywhere else to write up a will that will minimize the prospect of later family conflicts. The way things are written impacts on whether some family members may feel slighted or otherwise "left out" of the loop. Some phrasing or certain appointments may plant an idea with one or more family members that others are receiving special treatment. Good estate planning, in cooperation with an experienced estates attorney, will minimize greatly the chances of family dissension.
The parents of a child with special needs will want to implement various safeguards and make certain plans for the child's maximum welfare. Seeing an estate planning attorney who is located in Ohio is an important first step in preparing the special needs plan. The parents will learn all of the information that they did not know, and they will become equipped to understand the importance and meaning of the legal instruments involved.
In Ohio and all other jurisdictions, retirement funds do not usually go through one's probate estate after death. That is because such proceeds are nearly always distributed to specific beneficiaries designated on the retirement plan itself. It is possible to also list an alternate beneficiary to receive the retirement funds if the primary beneficiary predeceases the owner of the fund. The treatment of retirement funds in estate planning is important despite the fact that the funds do not usually pass through the decedent's estate.
The strong point of making a will in Ohio and elsewhere is that it gives to the maker the right to control the disposition of estate assets after his or her death. This is no small benefit when one considers that, without a will, the disposition of assets will go by state statute. Without estate planning and a will, one cannot be assured how these matters will be handled. It will not even be certain who will step forth to seek the authority to administer the estate for the intestate decedent.
The growing acceptance by most people in Ohio and nationwide of the benefits of the internet has resulted in their willingness to store even vital information, documents and financial accounts online. This trend brings up estate planning issues that require important evaluation and decision-making. There are now software programs that support this movement by assisting people in storing all digital assets in one place.
For the business owner in Ohio and elsewhere, decisions have to be made regarding the succession of the business and the distribution of its wealth after the owner's death. Although it seems at first blush controversial to say, it may be that one's children are not the best beneficiaries to take over the ongoing business. Where the children have had little or no interest in the enterprise, it may be more appropriate to set up estate planning measures that will give one's heirs the economic benefit of the business while transferring the business operation to a trusted key employee or associate who is well-suited to carry on the company's legacy.