Preparation is a powerful thing. We see its impact every day as estate planning attorneys.  

Making plans for your estate is a vital (yet often overlooked) aspect of life. The estate planning process goes beyond drafting a will; it encompasses a series of legal documents and strategies designed to prepare for the management and distribution of your property after death according to your wishes. 

In Ohio, the benefits of estate planning are not merely financial; they are emotional and psychological. Having a plan in place ensures that: 

  • Your assets are distributed according to your desires. 

  • Your family is protected from potential disputes and lengthy legal processes. 

  • Your health and long-term care plans align with your values through the establishment of specific health directives. 

  • Your business succession is managed seamlessly. 

  • Potential tax liabilities are minimized, preserving more of your estate for your heirs. 

It's a lot to consider, but it's all important. With the right support, you can organize your affairs in a manner that reflects your life's work and your vision for your legacy.  

Our estate planning lawyers understand the individual nature of your planning needs and empower you with comprehensive resources to make informed decisions.  

An Estate Law Firm That Genuinely Cares

Our Ohio estate planning attorneys pride themselves on providing personalized advice to each client. 

From the initial consultation to the finalization of your estate plan, our team works diligently to ensure that every detail is considered and your estate is structured in the most advantageous way possible under Ohio law. Our compassionate lawyers work tirelessly to explain the process, provide simple solutions to complex decisions, and instill peace of mind in our clients.  

Whether you're looking to protect your assets, establish a legacy, or ensure your family's future is secure, we genuinely care about your goals, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. 

StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law serves clients throughout Warren, Greene County, Clark County, Miamisburg, Butler County, and Preble County. Contact us today to schedule a time to talk about your estate plan.  



Ohio Estate Planning Checklist

Estate planning in Ohio demands a proactive approach, and the following checklist outlines the essential measures to achieve a comprehensive estate plan: 

  1. Designate a Health Care Agent: Choose a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. 

  1. Designate a Financial Agent: Select someone to manage your financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated. 

  1. Compile a Detailed List of Current Assets: Document all your possessions, investments, and accounts for a clear overview of your estate. 

  1. Determine Your Beneficiaries: Specify who will inherit your assets and how you want them to be distributed. 

  1. Create an Estate Distribution Form: Establish a legally binding document outlining how your estate will be distributed among your chosen beneficiaries. 

  1. Select a Secure Location for Storing Estate Documents: Keep all your important estate documents in a safe and easily accessible place for future reference. 

Estate Planning Documents to Consider

Last Will and Testament: Your will is foundational in estate planning. It details how you wish your assets to be distributed and can designate guardians for minor children. Without a will, Ohio's intestate succession laws will determine how your assets are divided, which may not align with your wishes. 

Trusts: For many Ohioans, a trust can provide additional flexibility and control over how and when your assets are distributed. Trusts can also help your estate avoid the often lengthy and public probate process, providing privacy and potentially saving time and money. 

Financial Power of Attorney (POA): This legal document allows you to appoint someone you trust to manage your financial affairs should you become incapacitated. Without it, your family might have to undergo a cumbersome and distressing court process to gain control over your financial matters. 

Healthcare POA/Advance Directives/Living Will: These documents ensure that your healthcare decisions are in trusted hands and your wishes are known in the event you cannot communicate them yourself. The healthcare POA appoints someone to make medical decisions on your behalf, while a living will outlines your preferences for end-of-life care. 

Beneficiary Designations: Often overlooked, beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and certain other financial accounts bypass the will and probate, directly transferring specific assets to named beneficiaries. Regularly review these designations to ensure they reflect your current wishes. 

Guardianship Designations for Minor Children: If you have minor children, naming a guardian is of paramount importance. While a difficult decision, specifying a guardian can prevent familial disputes and ensure your children are cared for by someone who aligns with your parenting values and lifestyle. 

Letter of Intent: Though not a legally binding document, a letter of intent can be a helpful supplement, providing instructions, wishes, or explanations to your executors or beneficiaries. It can guide the handling of your personal effects, suggest the tone of your memorial service, or detail the reasons behind your decisions. 

By methodically addressing each of these components, you can create a robust estate plan that reflects your desires, protects your loved ones, and secures your legacy in accordance with Ohio laws. Our firm stands ready to guide you through each step of this process, ensuring that no detail is overlooked. 

If You're a Business Owner

If you're a business owner in Ohio, your estate plan must include strategies for the succession of your business. This aspect of planning is crucial to ensure the continuity of operations and preservation of the business's value after your death or incapacity.  

A comprehensive business succession plan can address who will take over the business, how they will be compensated, and the legal framework that supports this transition. An option to consider is a buy-sell agreement, which sets the terms under which your business interest can be sold or transferred. This document is a critical protective measure for partners in a business, ensuring that the business remains stable and in the hands of those you trust.  

Additionally, establishing a trust specifically for your business can provide further control over its future management and benefits distribution. Trusts can also offer tax advantages and help avoid the probate process, allowing for a smoother transition and minimizing disruptions to business operations.  

Our team specializes in navigating the complex landscape of business succession planning, ensuring that your legacy—and the livelihoods depending on it—continue to thrive. 

Ohio Estate Planning Laws to Know

Understanding the legal landscape is critical to effective estate planning. Ohio has specific statutes and regulations that impact how you structure your plan. 

Intestacy Laws 

One of the key components of estate planning is ensuring that your wishes are known and legally documented. In the absence of a will or other estate planning documents, Ohio's intestacy laws will determine the distribution of your assets.  

These laws prioritize spouses, children, and other close relatives but may not reflect your personal relationships or distribution wishes. For those with non-traditional families, or specific ideas about their asset distribution, relying on intestacy laws can lead to undesired outcomes.  

Crafting a will and establishing trusts are critical steps in avoiding the default intestacy process, providing you with control over your estate's future. 

Tax Implications 

Ohio estate planning also navigates tax implications, both on the state and federal levels. While Ohio no longer imposes an estate tax (the Ohio estate tax was repealed effective January 1, 2013), understanding the federal estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax is fundamental.  

Your estate plan can employ various strategies to minimize these taxes, ensuring that your beneficiaries receive the maximum benefit from your estate. Trusts, in particular, can be structured to reduce tax exposure, protect your assets, and support your beneficiaries according to your precise wishes. 

Understanding these laws and their implications is crucial for crafting an estate plan that effectively manages and protects your assets. Working with skilled legal professionals can help you navigate these regulations, ensuring your estate plan is both compliant and aligned with your personal objectives.

Estate Planning Attorneys in Dayton, Ohio 

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we believe estate planning is about securing a worry-free future for you and your loved ones. Our experienced estate planning attorneys in Dayton, Ohio, are dedicated to providing you with a personalized, comprehensive plan that meets your unique needs. Contact StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law today to begin the conversation about your estate planning needs. Together, we can build a legacy that reflects your life, work, and values.