Ohio guardians have many responsibilities with respect to incapacitated adults on whose behalf they are acting. Guardianship rights are carefully calculated to give guardians the freedom to act for their wards’ benefit, without giving them excessive powers that could be abused.
For example, guardianship rights include the right to make and manage investments on the ward’s behalf, manage the ward’s real estate, and collect debts that are owed to the ward. Ohio Revised Code Section 2111.50 also gives the guardian the right to do some limited estate planning on the ward’s behalf. In August of 2021, that right was expanded somewhat, and procedural safeguards were put in place to protect the ward and other interested parties. Let’s discuss expanded guardianship rights regarding estate planning and managing a ward’s estate in Ohio.
ORC Section 2111.50, prior to its amendment, granted a guardian the same powers that the ward would be able to exercise on their own behalf, if the war… Read More
People in certain professions, like medicine and law, understand the value of asset protection because those professions are often the target of lawsuits. Others may not feel that their assets are vulnerable to a lawsuit. They may not have existing creditors, and they don’t expect to be sued—or that their children might be. In short, they are not concerned about creditors’ rights to their assets, because they don’t expect to have significant exposure.
But that would be a mistake. The truth is that any of us can find ourselves facing a situation in which a court rules that we owe someone else a lot of money. It is for that reason that discretionary trusts for asset protection have become increasingly popular. Discretionary trusts and trusts with spendthrift provisions are commonly used to protect beneficiaries’ assets from potential creditors.
Ohio law provides for a support allowance of $40,000 from the estate of a deceased person for a surviving spouse and/or minor children. If there are no minor children, or the minor children are also the children of the surviving spouse, the spouse will receive the entire allowance. If the deceased had minor children who are not also children of the surviving spouse, the probate court will equitably divide the allowance of support between the surviving spouse and minor children. This amount is sometimes referred to as a “spousal allowance,” “surviving spouse benefits,” or “family allowance.” It is considered a priority claim against the estate, meaning it is paid before most other claims.
The law also provides that the surviving spouse may select one or more automobiles titled in the deceased’s sole name and valued up to a total of $65,000. Any automobiles so selected are not to be included in an inventory of estate assets.
In recent years, there has been some ambiguity in the law about whether a spouse’s selection of even a single automobile should reduce the amount of the surviving spouse benefits. Legislative action that takes effect as of August… Read More