A Good Estate Plan Can Give You Peace Of Mind
At Kirner & Boldt Co., L.P.A., our lawyers help clients find peace of mind by helping them establish a solid estate plan.
When someone dies intestate, or without a Will, the laws will dictate how your assets will be divided — which may not end up being remotely the way that you would have wanted. The court will also decide who will be responsible for the administration of your estate, which may not be the person you would have asked. That person will also be required to post a cash bond with the court, which is another unnecessary expense that can be avoided with a properly drafted Will.
A basic estate plan starts with having a Will. The Will provides specific instructions as to who will serve as executor and your wishes regarding the distribution of your property that is titled in your name alone at the time of your death. If you have minor children, it will also give you the ability to tell the court who should care for them in your stead.
Leaving concise estate plan documents is the most important thing you can do for your loved ones. During their time of grief, it will spare them from having to make complicated decisions or guessing about your wishes. Depending on your ultimate goals, you may be best served by having a trust along with your Will to provide for complex matters such as allowing someone who is not the subsequent owner of the property to remain living in your house after you die for a period of time, or the management and delay of distribution outright to beneficiaries until they are beyond the age of 18.
A Last Will and Testament addresses the disposition of your probate assets at the time of your death. Please note that your Will does not govern property that is already designated by way of specific beneficiary designations, such as joint and survivorship accounts, joint and survivor ownership of real estate, transfer on death designations of real estate, payable-on-death accounts, transfer on death accounts, beneficiaries under life insurance policies, or pension plans.
A common misconception that prospective clients have is that having a Will is a method to avoid probate. This is not the case! For the will to be determined valid and to grant the named executor authority expressed in the Will, the Will must be filed with the court along with applications to admit the will and estate administration. A Will is not self-executing like a trust may be. For example, the named executor will not gain access to your accounts by taking the Will to the bank. The bank will need to see a court order that the executor has been duly appointed by the court.
Start Planning For Your Family Today
Having a Will may be just the beginning of a successful estate plan. Your attorney can discuss the usefulness of other things, like revocable and irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney and methods of asset protection.
Please contact our office today for a free consultation with a lawyer. We can be reached online or at 440-884-4300. Located in North Royalton, Ohio, outside of Cleveland and near Parma, we offer all the benefits of a big city law firm, with a small-town feel.