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While most adults are fully aware they should make preparations for the end of life, only about 4 in 10 American adults actually have a will or living trust. Baby boomers—those between the ages of 53 and 71—are much more likely to have made such preparations, with 58 percent having estate-planning documents. Younger people also need to have an estate plan, particularly those with children. Unfortunately, 78 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 36, and 64 percent of those between the ages of 37 and 52, do not even have a simple will in place.
Adults in America—and in Centerville, Ohio—do seem to be a bit more proactive about having a health care power of attorney. This document grants legal authority to another person to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated. When asked why they had not engaged in estate planning, the reasons given included “haven’t gotten around to it,” and “don’t have enough assets to worry about.”
Why Should You Have an Ohio Estate Plan?
So why do we devote more time to planning our annual vacation than deciding who will inherit our estate? Many of us believe estate planning is only for the wealthy, however this is simply not true. If you have any assets at all—and most of us do—and you have loved ones you want to leave those assets to, then you need a Centerville, Ohio estate plan which, at the very least should include a simple will and a health care power of attorney. The primary reasons you would want to have an estate plan in place include:
- You want to be in control of who inherits your assets—without a plan in place, the state of Ohio could make those decisions for you. This could be a process that takes years, resulting in people you did not intend to inherit, receiving your assets.
- If you have young children, a will is crucial because you want to make sure your children have a guardian chosen by you, and are taken care of in a manner you approve of.
- Protecting your heirs includes protection against taking a large tax hit. Estate planning can transfer assets to heirs with an eye toward creating the smallest tax burden possible.
- Having an estate plan can keep family squabbles out of the mix. Unfortunately, when someone dies, family members often go to battle about what they think they “deserve.”
Centerville, Ohio Intestate Succession or Who Gets What if You Die Without a Will?
The word “intestate” essentially means dying without a will. When you die without a will, the state you resided in will determine how to allocate your assets. In the state of Ohio, those state decisions go something like this:
- If you die with children, but without a spouse (and no will), your children will receive equal shares of your assets after all creditors, taxes and legal fees are paid.
- If you have no children or parents, but you do have a spouse, then your spouse would receive all your assets.
- If you have a spouse, and have children with that spouse, your spouse still receives 100 percent of your assets.
- If you have a spouse and one child from a prior relationship, your spouse will receive the first $20,000 of your assets, plus half the balance, and your child will receive the remainder of your assets.
- If you have a spouse and more than one child from a prior relationship, your spouse receives the first $20,000 of your assets plus one-third of the remainder, with the remaining 2/3rds of your assets divided between your children.
- If you have a spouse, at least one child with the spouse, plus children from a prior relationship, your spouse inherits the first $60,000 of your estate plus one-third of the balance, and the remainder is divided among the children.
- If you have no spouse or children, but your parents are still alive, they will inherit all your assets, and if you have no spouse, no children and your parents are not alive, your siblings will inherit all your assets.
More Ohio Estate Laws
Ohio intestacy laws also provide that:
- “Half” relatives inherit as though they were full-blood relatives. In other words, your half-sister has the same status as your full-blood sister.
- To inherit under Ohio laws, a person must outlive you by five days (120 hours).
- A person who has committed a serious crime against you could be prohibited from inheriting anything from your estate.
- Immigration status makes no difference in inheritance status in Ohio.
- A relative who was conceived before you die, but born after you have passed, inherit as though they had been born while you were alive.
An experienced Centerville, Ohio estate planning attorney can help you construct a solid estate plan, giving you peace of mind. When done correctly, your Centerville, Ohio estate plan can ensure your assets are not lost to taxes or given to those you would not want to inherit. Let the estate planning attorneys at Lovett & House Co., LPA help you prepare your estate plan.