As the saying goes, “if you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail” and this is especially true when it comes to estate planning. This is why we offer in-person seminars and teleconferences so that everyone can educate themselves about estate planning. But, you should keep in mind that there isn’t a one -size fits all process to estate planning. Yes, many people have similar assets, but the transition of those assets from one person to another must be properly planned out for tax and liability purposes.

Generally speaking, estate planning is the process of protecting one’s assets, insuring appropriate succession planning, and making sure one’s personal values determine the ultimate recipients of one’s wealth.

In Ohio, if one has only a will or no estate plan at all, estates with gross assets exceeding $35,000 are required to go through probate. Probate is a time consuming and expensive court process by which assets are transferred to one’s heirs. Not only is the court process lengthy, but it is not private since proceedings in probate court are public. And not to mention the probate process allows a percentage of the estate to be paid to the executor for the estates as well as to the attorney for the executor.

Everyone’s estate plan will be different, but the reasons behind creating an estate plan are usually pretty standard. Here are the Four main reasons for having an estate plan:

  1. Reducing expenses and taxes associated with probate and the settlement of a will.
  2. Making wishes known to spouses and heirs so they can carry on the legacy as desired.
  3. Control of asset distribution from a wealth transfer and beneficiary designation standpoint.
  4. Making it easier for loved ones to deal with their loss (no one fighting over who gets what.)

So, here’s why going to Probate is Failed Estate Planning.

  • There’s an additional fee to probate the Estate.
  • There are delays in distribution to beneficiaries.
  • There is a lot of paperwork that must be filled out and filed with the court.
  • The entire estate is a matter of public record.

What’s the point of hiring an attorney to make a distribution plan if it ends up costing delays for your family to receive an inheritance and it results in additional expenses and it’s not private.

When your Estate Plan is properly planned out, with all the assets identified and then executed properly, then there will be little to no assets that go to Probate Court. And if assets do go through the Probate court your estate will be a small one. For more information regarding Estate Planning give us a call at 740.346.2899.