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Experienced Eaton, Ohio Estate Planning Lawyer
The town of Eaton is the county seat of Preble County, Ohio, with a current population of about 8,100. Eaton was established by William Bruce in 1806 and named after General William Eaton. By 1846, there were more than 1,000 residents in Eaton, which continued to grow until 1849, when an epidemic of cholera decimated the town. Less than a decade later, a devastating fire burned thirteen of the primary businesses in Eaton.
After these two tragedies, it took a few years for Eaton to make a comeback, but by 1880, there were more than 2,000 Eaton residents. Eaton was—and remains—primarily an agricultural community. In the early years, many farmers grew tobacco. As a result, the cigar industry was also big in Eaton and surrounding areas. In the 1800s, many of Eaton’s residents found employment in nearby limestone quarries, making limestone a common building material in the area.
One of the major historic areas in Eaton, the Christman Covered Bridge that carries Eaton-New Hope Road over Seven Mile Creek, northwest of Eaton, was built in 1895 by Everett S. Sherman. Sherman built at least 20 covered bridges in Preble County; the Christman Bridge cost about $4,250 to build, with a bit more than half of that for stone from the Eaton Stone Company.
More than a century later, rehabilitation work on the bridge cost more than $331,000. The bridge was named for Solomon Christman who operated a sawmill downstream and owned the land surrounding the bridge. There are pieces of sawmill still visible west of the bridge, and the Christman Bridge is open to traffic.
Serving the Estate Planning Needs of Eaton, Ohio Residents
Many adults think of estate planning as something they need to do—but would rather not think about. Others believe only the super-rich need an estate plan, or that they will think about an estate plan when they are much older and not so busy. It is important to get past these myths about estate plans, and the attorneys from Lovett & House can help you do that in the very best, easiest way possible. Those with virtually any level of assets can benefit from a well-thought-out estate plan. Our attorneys have the experience, skills, and knowledge to guide you through the estate planning process, then we can help you update your estate plan through the years, as needed.
What Does Eaton, Ohio Estate Planning Entail?
You may not think so, but you have an estate—every adult has some level of estate. Your estate is comprised of everything you own—your car, your home, any other real estate, your bank accounts, your life insurance policy, your personal possessions, even your furniture, dog, and cat. No matter how extensive or how modest your possessions are, everyone has an estate. So, now that you have established you have an estate, you will surely want to control—to the extent possible—who receives your property and assets.
With an estate plan, you get to decide who will ensure your wishes are carried out, who you want to receive your possessions, what you want them to receive, and when you want them to receive it. You will hopefully also be able to make this happen with the least amount of money being paid in taxes. This is estate planning in a nutshell—making a plan in advance that will protect your loved ones in the future.
Your estate plan can also include instructions for your care should you become incapacitated before you die, name a guardian for your minor children, provide for family members with special needs while retaining crucial government benefits, and even provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or could need future protections from creditors or divorce.
You can provide for the transfer of your business at the time of your retirement, disability, or death in your estate plan. It is important to note that estate planning is an ongoing process, rather than a “one and done” task. You should review your estate plan on a regular basis, updating the plan as your family, financial situation, and state or federal laws change over time.
What are the Implications and Effects of Failing to Engage in Estate Planning?
If you die without an estate plan, you die intestate, and the state of Ohio will provide a “default” estate plan for you. This means that people you would not want to have your property might receive it, according to Ohio intestate laws of succession. If you die without an estate plan, the following could occur:
- Your heirs will receive their inheritance all at once. This could create a problem if you have minor children, if you have an adult child that requires government benefits, or if one of your heirs is not old enough or responsible enough to handle getting an inheritance all at once.
- The court will appoint a personal representative (executor) for your estate. This person could be a relative, but that is not a given.
- The court will appoint a guardian for your minor child or children.
- The court will appoint a guardian for you should you become incapacitated.
What Documents Should Your Eaton, Ohio Estate Plan Include?
Your estate planning attorney is the best person to help you determine what documents you need in your estate plan and will tailor your estate plan to your unique situation. At a minimum, you probably need the following:
- A Last Will and Testament
- A Living Trust
- A Financial Power of Attorney
- A Healthcare Power of Attorney
- A Living Will
Depending on your situation, you may need additional documents for your estate plan as well.
What Information Should I Have Prior to Meeting with an Eaton, Ohio Estate Planning Attorney?
The most important thing in estate planning is to get started. Most people know from memory what the attorney needs to get started on the project. It is a common mistake to put off the planning by trying to gather too much information. In a perfect world, the following is a list of documents and information you could take to your estate planning meeting if these are easily available:
- Deeds to real estate
- Financial statements (most recent bank and investment account statements)
- Business agreements for any company you own or have an interest in
- Any trademark, patent, or copyright registration certificates
- Stock certificates
- Life insurance policy information
- Retirement account information
- A list of the specific possessions you want to leave
- Names and addresses of each heir
- Names and addresses of each guardian or trustee
- Any prior Will, Trust, Durable Power of Attorney or Advance Health Care Directive
- Divorce agreements
- Prenuptial agreements
Lovett & House makes the task easier by providing a simple questionnaire to complete and bring to the first meeting. If you spend more than 20 minutes filling it out, then you are working too hard!
How an Eaton, Ohio Estate Planning Attorney from Lovett & House Can Help
Estate planning is for everyone, and the attorneys at Lovett & House can help you put together a comprehensive estate plan that will accurately reflect your wishes for your loved ones and your business if you have one. Failing to make an estate plan can cause significant difficulties for your family members at a time when they have enough to deal with as it is. Contact an experienced, highly skilled estate planning attorney from Lovett & House today to set an appointment to discuss your estate plan. To set up that initial consultation, call us at 937-667-8805.