Far too many Ohioans put off thinking about their estate plan because they are not ready to make the tough decisions that need to be made. Others don’t think they really need one because they are not wealthy or they have a small family, and everyone gets along. These are common misconceptions that we hear all the time in our office. The truth is, the sooner you get your wishes down on paper, no matter how big or small your estate is, the better off everyone will be in the long run. Another difficult truth to face is that probating a loved one’s estate can be a long, costly, and difficult process—but it is not one you have to face alone.
Key Elements of a Successful Estate Plan
Of course, our estate planning lawyers will help you create a plan that works for your unique situation, but in general, a solid estate plan includes the following:
- Wills & Trusts. As the main component of an estate plan, these are important documents. Wills ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes. Trusts allow you even more say in how and when your assets are distributed and may save your heirs money and protect them from legal challenges.
- Durable power of attorney. This document grants legal decision-making powers to a person you choose if you should become incapacitated. Married couples often designate each other, but you may also choose a friend or family member who is financially savvy.
- Beneficiary designations. A beneficiary and contingent beneficiary should be named for any possessions that can be passed directly to the person you choose. Life insurance policies, 401(k) plans, and other products should all name a beneficiary to save your loved ones time and money.
- Healthcare power of attorney. This important document designates a person to make healthcare decisions for you in the event that you are unable to make them for yourself. You should choose a person you trust to carry out your wishes for resuscitation, treatment, and care facilities.
- Guardianship designations. If your trust does not name guardians for minor children (or disabled adults), you should create a separate document that does. It is important that you discuss guardianship with the person or people you would like to select so that they are prepared to take your children (or disabled adults) if necessary.
You know you need an estate plan, but taking that first step is the hard part. When you contact our office, you will see how easy it is to take care of this important life task.
Ensuring Your Ohio Probate Goes Smoothly
Most estates in Ohio will have to go through some form of probate after the estate holder passes away. While smart estate planning can protect some assets from probate, other assets will have to be probated in order to be passed on to the intended heirs. Whether you are the estate administrator or a potential heir to an estate, you want to make sure that probate proceeds efficiently and that your interests are represented in court. Our probate team is experienced at handling:
- Probate administration. No matter how complicated the estate is, we help you every step of the way. Our goal is to make the process as simple as possible for you as we file documents, attend hearings, and close out the estate so that heirs can get the closure they need and deserve after a loved one’s passing.
- Probate litigation. If someone is contesting your loved one’s wishes, we will fight tenaciously for your interests in probate court.
We want you to understand that you do not have to go through the probate process alone. We are here for you!
Schedule a Consultation Today
We invite you to browse our website for more information about estate planning and probate at Littlejohn Law LLC. We offer free books, guides, and videos that may answer your questions and let you know what we can do for you before your consultation. Call today at 740.346.2899 or fill out the form on this page to see what our firm can do for you.