In Ohio, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone determines what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you really want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for really implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these goals.
In addition to decisions regarding the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For instance, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your choice on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such choices for you, if you are unable.
A reliable estate planner in Ohio may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Additionally, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Ohio
Estate plans in Ohio almost always have these elements:
Will: A will is a written instrument stating what you want to be done with your assets after you die. There are many pitfalls that can come up in the drafting of a will. Nonetheless, because the will doesn't have any legal or practical effect until after the person who made it died, they can't exactly correct these problems when they become apparent. Thus, quality drafting, usually with the assistance of a seasoned attorney, is essential.
Power of Attorney: This is a legal document in which you give some other person (normally a family member) the ability to make decisions (often related to money or healthcare) on your behalf if you become incapable of doing so.
Funeral Arrangements: The determination of what should be done with your body after you die is a very personal one. If you have a preference on this, for religious, or other, reasons, you should discuss this with a family member in advance. You should further put your wishes in writing, but you should not put it ONLY in a will; wills aren't always read immediately after the person who wrote it died. Sometimes, weeks, or even months, go by before the will is read. Obviously, by then it will almost definitely be too late to implement your wishes.
Do I Need an Ohio Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning is very important (if you care about what happens to your family after your death), and can involve some pretty hard decisions. It should be clear, then, that a seasoned Ohio estate planning attorney will likely be worth the cost, because they can give your wishes the best possible chance of taking effect.
Interesting Facts About Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state containing a large concentration of highly populated U.S. cities. Ohio's location and demographics make it somewhat of a "microcosm" of the U.S., as it features elements of eastern, western, northern, and southern cultures.
The state capitol building of Ohio is called The Ohio Statehouse and is located in the city of Columbus. Unlike most other state capitols, Ohio Statehouse's architecture does not resemble the U.S. capitol building. The Statehouse is home to the state legislature, the governor's office, and also contains a museum. Ohio's court system consists of the Courts of Common Pleas, the intermediate-level District Court system, and the "court of last resort", the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Ohio Supreme Court has produced several key decisions involving First Amendment issues and other Constitutional rights. Some of these include: Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), establishing the "clear and present danger" doctrine; Minarcini v. Strongsville (Ohio) School District, addressing student library rights; and McIntyre v. Ohio Election Commission (1995), a case involving political speech.
Ohio lawyers can provide legal advice, represent clients in court, and assist persons with various legal needs. Lawyers in Ohio can typically be found practicing at the Courts of Common Pleas, where most claims originate. Attorneys in Ohio are on hand to help serve the needs of Ohio communities.