Storing Your Estate Planning Documents

Estate planning documents are only useful if the right people can reach them at the right time. You want to store your documents in a place where they will be safe, yet accessible to the people you want to be able to find them (and not others). What should you think about when deciding where and how to store your estate planning documents?

Organizing Estate Planning Documents

The first step in organizing and storing your estate planning documents is to identify just what constitutes your estate plan. An estate plan can, and should, include more than just a last will and testament. Some of the documents that might be included in your estate plan are:

  • Last will and testament
  • Trust
  • Durable financial power of attorney
  • Medical power of attorney
  • Living will
  • Life insurance policies

In short, these are documents that your loved ones will need to access when you are unable to communicate their location, either because you are… Read More

Do I Need to Hire a Probate Lawyer?

When an Ohio resident dies, a grieving family member is usually faced with the task of administering the estate, also known as probate. Probate can be a challenging process at the best of times, and even more so under the emotional strain of loss. Many people who are responsible for probating an estate have never done so before and do not know where to begin. A question we often hear from executors or administrators of estates is, “Do I need to hire a probate lawyer?”

The short answer to that question is that no, you are not required to have an attorney to probate an Ohio estate. But a better question is, “Would the probate process go more smoothly with a probate attorney’s help?” To that question, the answer is almost certainly “yes.”

What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?

To understand whether you need a probate lawyer’s help, it is important to understand what a probate attorney does. Probate is the legal proceeding for validating a will (if the deceased had one), settling creditors’ claims against the estate, and distributing any remaining assets to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.

Probate often affects the rights of multiple… Read More

Can a Prenup Prevent Inheriting From Your Spouse?

Many, if not most people intend their spouse to be the primary beneficiary of their estate. But there are also many situations in which it makes sense to limit a spouse’s inheritance. Maybe you have family wealth or an interest in a family business that you want to remain in your family of origin if you should die. Perhaps you and your spouse are marrying later in life, and have each accumulated significant assets on your own. You might have children from a previous marriage that you would prefer to inherit your assets; a prenup can protect your child’s inheritance in the event that you predecease your spouse. Whatever your motivation, a prenuptial agreement can be a valuable estate planning tool.

If your first thought when you hear the word “prenup” is divorce, you’re not alone. But a prenuptial agreement is nothing more than agreement between a couple before their marriage as to how they will approach issues (usually financial) during their marriage. While a prenup does deal with how the couple’s property will be treated in a divorce, it can also address what… Read More