Estate planning is an area of law that helps people prepare for their future. Specifically, it allows an individual to declare their wishes in the event that they can no longer communicate their wants or wishes or once they have passed away.
There are many misconceptions about estate planning, which causes a lot of people to avoid this legal tool. For instance, many people assume that estate planning is only for wealthy individuals, people who are getting “over the hill”, or that the process is too expensive. In reality, most of those beliefs are largely unfounded.
No matter your age, current health situation, or the amount of money that you may have, a person should consider establishing an estate plan. As to the matter of expense, a basic estate plan can be very affordable. This is especially true when you take into consideration how much it may save your loved ones in the long run. Finally, if you are wondering how “necessary” this process is, you should understand that creating a well-rounded estate plan does more than just determine what happens to your assets after your death. More importantly, especially for married individuals with young children, you can set forth in your Will the guardians for your underage children. If you would like to discuss estate planning with me, please telephone my office at (513) 522-5800.
I understand how confusing estate planning or estate administration can seem. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with the terminology. That is why, below, I have compiled a list of terms you are likely to hear as you begin to think about your estate plan.
LAST WILL & TESTAMENT
A Last Will & Testament allows the Probate Court to know to whom you want your probate assets to pass to upon your death. A will does not negate the probate process; however, it does make it easier for your executor and beneficiaries to go through of the process of administering your estate after your death.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
There are several different powers of attorney. Each one has a specific purpose. For instance, a durable power of attorney for health care allows a person that you choose to make decisions pertaining to your medical treatment in the event that you cannot make those decisions yourself. A financial or basic power of attorney allows the person that you have chosen the ability to conduct business on your behalf.
Should you have an illness or accident which causes a permanently unconscious state, a living will is a directive which allows you to state your wishes on your continued treatment as well as the use or non-use of artificial life-sustaining support.
SURVIVORSHIP DEEDS & TRANSFER ON DEATH DESIGNATION AFFIDAVIT
These two terms refer to how the real property of an individual or individuals is titled and how it is transferred after your death. With a survivorship deed, you and another individual co-own the real property. This is very common with a husband and wife when they own a house. On the death of either party, the real estate transfers by way of affidavit to the surviving party. Both parties are co-owners of the real estate during their lifetime. By comparison, a transfer on death designation affidavit sets forth who you want the real estate to pass to upon your death. During the property owner’s lifetime, they can sell or mortgage the property without any involvement from the beneficiaries.
Don’t be overwhelmed at the prospect of creating an estate plan. In truth, taking this step now can simplify a great deal down the road and provide you with a greater sense of security in the present. If you’re ready to learn more, please reach out to my firm. I would be honored to help you build the plan that’s right for you.