Mentor Ohio Estate Lawyer
Serving all of Northeast Ohio
Estate Planning, Wills, Probate, Powers of Attorney & Trusts
Estate planning can be difficult to do. No one really wants to think about the end of their life or what might come after it. We all assume that our children will get along and the distribution of assets will go smoothly, but that is not always the case. That is why an estate plan is so important. There are many different ways to plan the distribution of your estate.
Name Your Beneficiaries
The first way to ensure that your assets are distributed as you wish is to ensure that you have named beneficiaries on all assets that you can. You want to be sure to add successor beneficiaries as well. The assets that commonly have beneficiaries are life insurance policies, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, and bank accounts. If you have not consulted with your human resources staff at your employer or if you have not had a conversation with your financial planner, this is the first step to ensuring that your assets have beneficiaries. Moseman Law Office, LLC recommends revisiting these conversations at least every five years to make sure that your beneficiaries are up to date.
Transfer on Death Beneficiary
It is now envogue to add a Transfer on Death Beneficiary to vehicles that you owe (or owe subject to a loan). This can be done with a visit to your local title bureau. For many people, their home is their biggest asset. A home can be delivered to the chosen beneficiaries through a Will, through a Transfer on Death, or Survivorship tool. These tools can ensure that the family home or other real property transfer immediately upon the death of the owner or owners to the desired beneficiary.
A survivorship Deed between spouses is effective to transfer the real property outside of the Will, and a Transfer on Death designation can transfer the real property immediately to a non-marital beneficiary. An affidavit and a death certificate will have to be filed with the County Recorder’s Office to show the transfer of ownership has occurred. It is a common thought to add your children or desired beneficiary to your bank and other accounts while you are living as either a convenience or a form of estate planning. Moseman Law Office, LLC does not recommend that practice as if another person is an owner on your account because their creditors can access it as if your money was theirs.
It is preferable to list beneficiaries as transfer or payable on death beneficiaries. You could list another person on your account for convenience as a signer but not an owner. If you can’t manage your accounts, another way to ensure that your accounts are handled is through a Durable Financial Power of Attorney.
Setting Up a Will
Basic estate planning includes a Will. A Will is the directives to your executor on how and to whom you would like your assets distributed. A Will only becomes effective upon your death. A Will can list multiple beneficiaries, a guardian for your minor children, and even include a trust inside it to handle the distributions to minor children or beneficiaries. A Will is essential as a tool to ensure that no assets are left without direction for distribution even if your assets have beneficiaries.
A Trust is a more sophisticated estate planning tool. There are many different types of trusts that can accomplish many different objectives in the distribution of your assets upon your death. A trust is set up during your lifetime and can be accessed by you as the person creating the trust or by a Trustee designated by you.
The most common trust is a Revocable Living Trust that is established during the creator’s lifetime and can be amended by the creator until their death. The change in the Federal and State tax laws over the past decade have made these Trusts less necessary but still a valuable tool in the correct circumstances.
A Medicaid Trust is beneficial for individuals that wish to protect their assets as much as possible for their beneficiaries while qualifying for State Medicaid benefits to finance their care as they age. The Medicaid Trust must be established not less than five years prior to the need to qualify for State Medicaid benefits, and the creator cannot be the beneficiary or the Trustee. This is an excellent tool but requires diligent preplanning.
Other Types of Trusts
There are several other types of trusts from those that can hold insurance policies to those that can provide gifts to charities. There are even trusts that can protect your assets from a spouse you think will make unwise decisions with the funds so that your chosen beneficiaries are ensured their inheritance.
Contact Moseman Law Office, LLC – Mentor, Ohio Estate Law Firm
It is always best to consult an attorney for assistance regarding your will, trusts, and other probate matters to determine if they are the right tools for you and to determine which ones will best meet your needs. Moseman Law Office, LLC will navigate you through the paperwork and legalities of probate laws in Ohio. Contact the Mentor OH estate law firm today for information!
Moseman Law Office, LLC
Moseman Law Office, LLC is a full-service legal firm located in Mentor, Ohio, serving all of Northeast Ohio and providing personalized legal solutions to its clients.
Moseman Law Office, LLC
8500 Station St., Ste 210
Mentor, OH 44060
Phone: (440) 255-0832