The majority of American adults do not have any estate planning documents in place, and this is not confined to younger folks. The baby boomer generation is comprised of people that are between 53 and 71 years of age. Only 42% of these individuals have executed a will or a trust according to a survey that was conducted by Caring.com.
This is quite surprising to say the least, and a lot of people that are older than 71 are completely unprepared from an estate planning perspective. The survey found that right around 20% of individuals that are 72 years of age and older have no estate planning documents at all.
Intestacy and Asset Distributions
What happens if you pass away without an estate plan? Under these circumstances, the condition of intestacy would exist. Your family would be required to notify the probate court about your passing, and this court would provide supervision during the estate administration process.
A personal representative would be appointed to act as the estate administrator. This is a role that is similar to that of the executor that would be named in a last will. Creditors would be notified and final debts would be paid during probate, including taxes.
Ultimately, the assets would be prepared for distribution, and at the end of the process, they would be passed along using the intestate succession laws of the state of Ohio. If you do nothing and let the state take this action, people that you love may be unintentionally disinherited.
Before we look at some of the specific intestate succession scenarios, we should point out the fact that some asset transfers are not subject to probate. These would include payable on death transfers, individual retirement accounts that are earmarked for a beneficiary, property held in joint tenancy, and life insurance proceeds.
When it comes to intestate property in Ohio, if you have a children but no spouse still living, your children would inherit everything. If you have a spouse, and your descendants are from that spouse, your spouse would be the sole inheritor. This is also the case if you have a surviving spouse but no children at all.
Your parents would be the first in line to inherit your intestate property if you pass away without a surviving spouse and no descendants, and your siblings would come next.
This is a brief overview of some of the most common types of transfers that can be part of the equation during intestate estate cases. To obtain all the details, go right to the source and check out the Chapter 2105 of the Ohio Revised Code.
Steer Clear of DIY Solutions
Unfortunately, some people that finally come to the conclusion that they should have an estate plan in place download a boilerplate generic template off the Internet to create a last will. This may be better than nothing, but then again, it could cause more harm than good.
Several years ago, Consumer Reports engaged four highly respected legal professors to examine last wills that were created using do-it-yourself downloads. They found significant flaws, and they stated that unintended negative consequences could come when these documents are used by laypeople.
In addition to the fact that a last will that is hastily devised using a generic template may not be effective, there is another factor to consider. A last will is not always the best choice as an asset transfer vehicle.
Plus, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration, like incapacity planning and preparing for potential nursing home costs. You may be surprised to hear that Medicare will not pay for a stay in a nursing home, and 35% of seniors will eventually need this level of care.
We Are Here to Help!
There is no reason to roll the dice without an estate plan when you can easily take the appropriate actions to protect your legacy and the people that you love the most.
We would be glad to sit down with you, gain an understanding of your objectives, and make the appropriate recommendations. If you decide to go forward, we can produce a custom crafted estate plan that ideally suits your needs.