WILLS & TRUST ATTORNEYS IN DAYTON, OHIO
World events are constantly reminding us that our time here is both limited and unknown. Death is one fact we know will come but are often ill-prepared for when it does. Although we know we should have some type of estate plan in place from the time we are young adults, it is something we tend to put off for much longer.
If you have been thinking about creating an estate plan or are merely curious about what estate planning involves, StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law are here to help. We have helped hundreds of clients in Dayton, Ohio, and in Warren, Greene County, Clark County, Miamisburg, Butler County, and Preble County plan for the inevitable. Reach out to set up an initial appointment to start the process.
WHY IS HAVING AN ESTATE PLAN IMPORTANT?
It is a myth that estate planning is only necessary for those who are sick, elderly, or very wealthy. Estate planning is important for every adult who accumulates an asset, such as a vehicle, or earns a paycheck or employment benefits. Although estate planning may be less complex for those who have accumulated few assets, it is still a necessary activity if you want whatever you have to go to someone other than the state when you pass away.
WHAT IS INVOLVED IN AN ESTATE PLAN?
An estate plan can be as simple as having a will; however, it typically comprises multiple documents designed to address multiple legal requirements. Each of them provides an opportunity for you to make decisions about your care should you become unable to care for yourself, as well as decisions about your end-of-life treatment, the distribution of personal property, and more.
Estate planning documents include wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, and other tools. An estate plan gives you a voice when you can no longer speak for yourself, communicating your wishes to loved ones, beneficiaries, and the courts. Because it usually involves multiple legal documents, these documents must be executed properly and work in concert with one another. Irregularities can call into question the validity of a document, so working with an experienced estate planning attorney on a comprehensive plan is a wise decision.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WILLS AND TRUSTS?
Essentially, a will provides instructions for how you want your estate handled and your assets distributed after you die. You name an executor in your will who works in concert with the probate court to administer your estate as prescribed in the will. Wills are subject to the probate process. Upon your death, your will is filed with the court, validated, and administered until payment of debts and distribution of assets is complete. Because it is subject to probate, its validity can be challenged by others. Furthermore, the contents of your estate are public since they are dealt with in court.
A trust, on the other hand, can avoid public scrutiny by avoiding the probate process. Living trusts involve the transfer of ownership of your assets to the trust so when you die, only those assets not in the trust, if there are any, are subject to probate.
As the creator of the trust, you will likely be the trustee during your lifetime who manages the assets. You will name one or more successor trustees who assume the role should you no longer wish to manage the trust, become incapacitated and unable to manage it, or pass away. The trust specifies how you want its assets to be distributed among the beneficiaries of the trust.
One important function a will can do that a trust cannot is allow you to name a guardian for your minor children. Consequently, some people need both a trust and a will as part of their estate plan. If you do not name a guardian in your will, the court will decide who will care for your children instead.
Wills are generally less complicated legal documents and are often less expensive to create. Trusts are more complex; however, their benefits often make them a better choice. Not only do they make it possible to avoid probate, but they also often offer tax advantages for you while you are living and for your beneficiaries when you are gone.
WILLS & TRUST ATTORNEYS IN DAYTON, OHIO
It is never too soon to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney, but it can be too late. At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we develop relationships with our clients for the long term, adjusting their estate plans as circumstances change throughout their lives. We welcome the opportunity to help you craft yours. If you live in Dayton or the nearby areas of Greene County, Clark County, Butler County, and the rest of Ohio, call us to schedule a time to visit. Set up a one-on-one consultation today.