(Wills, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, and Trusts)
Do you need a Will?
Generally, yes. Ohio law provides that if you die without a Will, your assets will pass to your next of kin. If you want to name different beneficiaries for your probate assets, then a Will is essential. Even if your next of kin are your preferred beneficiaries, having a Will is important. It allows you to nominate an executor, nominate a guardian for minor children, and give the executor necessary powers to sell real estate and serve without bond, thus reducing fees and expenses. (See more information about Wills)
Do you need a Durable Power of Attorney?
A Durable Power of Attorney allows you to designate a trusted individual to handle legal or financial affairs for you during life. A power of attorney is recommended for most individuals, especially those who are over age 55. (See more information about powers of attorney)
Do you need a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will?
A Health Care Power of Attorney allows you to name an agent (usually a family member or friend) to make medical decisions if you become unable to make them yourself. A Living Will instructs physicians to avoid life-sustaining treatment when a patient is permanently unconscious or in a terminal condition without a reasonable chance of recovery. (See more information about health care powers of attorney / living wills)
Do you need a trust?
A trust can be a very useful tool to avoid probate administration, spread out distributions to beneficiaries over time, and handle real estate in multiple states. For some people, however, a combination of beneficiary designations and a simple Will can efficiently and effectively achieve their estate planning objectives without the need for a trust. (See Do You Need a Living Trust?)
How often should your legal documents (Will, Power of Attorney, Living Will/Health Care Power of Attorney) be updated?
It is important to review your overall estate plan regularly – at least every five years for younger individuals, and more frequently as you age. (See Keeping Estate Documents Current)