You have heard of different courts like traffic court, criminal court, family court, etc. Probate is another type of court, and this court serves functions that are related to the fields of elder law and estate planning.
If you use a will to state your final wishes with regard to inheritance transfers, you would name an executor to act as the administrator. The will would be admitted to probate, and the court would preside while the executor handles the business of the estate.
Creditors must be notified during probate so they have a chance to come forward seeking satisfaction before the assets are distributed to the heirs. The court will determine the validity of the will, and the executor will identify, inventory, and prepare the assets for distribution. When all of these tasks have been completed, the court will close the estate, and the heirs receive their inheritances.
This court is also involved when someone dies intestate. This is a term that describes the condition of passing away without a will or any other type of estate planning documents.
The court would appoint a personal representative to serve a role that is similar to that of an executor. All of the same steps would be taken, and ultimately, the assets would be distributed in accordance with the intestate succession laws of the state of Ohio.
When you hear the term “guardianship,” you may think about sad situations that involve children. This is definitely one type of guardianship, and the probate court will handle child guardianship matters.
This court also presides over adult guardianship matters. It is not a very pleasant subject to contemplate, but a very significant percentage of elders become unable to handle their own affairs at some point.
Alzheimer’s disease strikes about one third of people that are 85 years of age and older, and the figure is 10 percent for all senior citizens. Clearly, people with Alzheimer’s induced dementia become unable to make sound decisions.
This is not the only form of cognitive impairment, and there are other elements that can cause physical incapacity. The court can be petitioned to appoint a guardian to act on behalf of an incapacitated adult.
This is a necessary safeguard, but it is less than ideal. You can take the matter into your own hands in advance through the execution of the right incapacity planning documents.
With a durable power of attorney for property, you can name someone to make financial decisions on your behalf. You can add a durable power of attorney for health care to empower someone to act as your health care representative.
A living trust is a very popular alternative to a last will for a number of different reasons. One of them is the ability to name a disability trustee to manage the trust in the event of your incapacity. As the grantor of the trust, you would act as the trustee while you are alive and well.
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In addition to the many different blog posts that you can explore, we have other valuable resources on this site that are available free of charge. One of them is our worksheet, which is a very effective tool that you can go through to gain a more complete understanding of the estate planning process.
You can get your copy if you visit our worksheet page and follow the simple instructions.
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