People often assume that you should use a will to state your final wishes unless you are extremely wealthy. This is really not the case, because there is a type of trust that can be ideal for many folks that are not multimillionaires.
In this post, we will shed light on the subject so you can go forward with a renewed understanding.
From a legal perspective, any adult that is of sound mind can potentially create a valid will. In Ohio, the document must be signed or acknowledged in the presence of two witnesses, and the witnesses have to sign the will in front of the testator. Notarization is not required.
When you create a will, you direct postmortem asset transfers. In addition to this function, you can also name a dependent for guardian children in a simple will.
You name an executor to act as the estate administrator when you are creating the document. This is a hands-on role, because the executor will complete all of the estate administration tasks.
The individual that you choose should have a good bit of financial acumen, and you should consider the anticipated longevity of the person that you would like to name. This may sound like an instance of overstating the obvious, but you should make sure they are willing to assume the role.
During probate, the executor will get an Employer Identification Number from the IRS, and they will establish an estate bank account. Creditors are given six months to come forward seeking satisfaction, and final debts will be paid by the executor.
The assets are identified and inventoried, and they are prepared for distribution, so there can be appraisals and liquidation of property. If anyone wants to contest the validity of the will, they can make a case during probate.
A will can be contested while probate is underway under certain specified grounds. These would include improper execution, incapacity, fraud, and undue coercion.
A Living Trust May Be a Better Choice
The last thing you should know about using a will is the simple fact that a living trust can be a better choice in many instances.
Many people do not consider trusts because they do not want to lose control of the assets, but you retain complete access to the resources when you have a living trust. You would act as the trustee while you are alive and well, and you would retain the right of revocation.
When you establish the trust, you would name a trustee to succeed you, and your heirs would be the beneficiaries. The trustee can be someone that you know, or you could use a professional fiduciary like a trust company.
After your death, the trustee would distribute assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with your stated instructions, and the probate court would not be involved. With regard to the distributions, you could spread them out over time if this is your choice.
A spendthrift clause can be included that would protect the principal from the beneficiary’s creditors, so there would be a layer of asset protection. You can also name a disability trustee when you create the trust agreement to assume the role in the event of your incapacity.
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Need Help Now?
If you are ready to take the final step and work with an attorney from our firm to put an estate plan in place, we are here to help. You can schedule a consultation at our office in Blue Ash if you call us at 513-721-1513, and you can fill out our contact form if you would prefer to send us a message.