Your family estate is the legacy that you will leave behind to your children, grand children, or other relatives. While many people think of a family estate as something possessed only by the very wealthy, this is simply not the case. If you have a business, a farm, a family home, or any assets in the bank that you want to leave to heirs, you have a family estate. You owe it to yourself and to your loved ones to protect the property and take strategic steps to leave a legacy.
A Loveland, OH estate planning lawyer can provide you with the advice you need on how best to protect your family estate. The Zimmer Law Firm provides representation to people of all ages, with all asset and income levels. We take seriously our role in helping you to care for your family and leave a legacy you will be proud of. Give us a call for help as soon as possible to learn more about the assistance we can provide.
How to Protect Your Family Estate
To protect your family estate, you need to consider what types of things could put your family assets and property at risk of loss. You then need to make use of legal tools available under Ohio law to try to mitigate or eliminate the risks. For example:
- Estate tax may be a threat to a larger family estate.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, estate tax may be charged on your estate if it exceeds $5.45 million in value as of 2016. If you have a family business, farm, or significant assets, you could hit this threshold and find that your estate is taxed.
Sometimes, farmland, business assets, or other property has to be sold to generate cash to pay estate taxes. This can be detrimental to the value of a family estate and should be avoided whenever possible through strategic estate planning aimed at avoiding estate taxes.
- Nursing home bills may be a threat to a family estate.
Medicare and private insurance rarely pay for nursing home care, as these insurers pay only when you need skilled medical services and not custodial care. Because nursing homes are so expensive, Medicaid usually ends up paying for seniors.
Unfortunately, if you have money or property, you will not be able to qualify for Medicaid until a good portion of your assets are spent. With a Medicaid plan, you can strategically transfer assets and structure ownership of property so you can qualify for Medicaid without spending down assets. This protects your property to leave to your loved ones.
- Business succession issues may be a threat to a family estate
If you have a company you run, you want to ensure that ownership and operational authority is seamlessly and quickly transferred to new owners. If you leave the company or if you pass away, operations can be interrupted if there is no succession plan in place to put new owners in charge as quickly as possible. With living trusts and/or with the selection of the right business type, you can facilitate the fast transfer of a family business so the company can remain strong.
- Your heirs may be a threat to your family estate
The goal of estate planning to protect your family estate is to make sure you have money to give to heirs and to charitable causes you believe in. Unfortunately, in some cases, one threat to assets is the heirs who will inherit them.
If you wish to make a gift to someone but are worried about money mismanagement, divorce, bankruptcy, or creditor claims, then you need an alternative solution instead of just handing over money or property. Options like trusts can allow you to give money but to ensure the money is managed appropriately by a trustee. The trustee can make responsible choices in managing the money and can distribute some of the trust assets to beneficiaries at various times, according to your instructions.
- Incapacity may be a threat to your family estate.
If you become incapacitated and cannot manage your property any more, there is a risk that assets will decline in value. You need to have someone you trust named as an agent if you create a power of attorney or named as a backup trustee if you created a trust.
Getting Help With Your Family Estate From a Loveland, Ohio Estate Planning Lawyer
A Loveland, Ohio estate planning lawyer understands the threats to your family’s estate and can help you to mitigate or eliminate those threats through strategic estate planning. To learn more, join us for a free seminar or give us a call at 513.721.1513.
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