We cannot emphasize the importance of having a will. As Centerville estate planning attorneys, we see the negative consequences of failing to have a will. Families who are already grieving after losing a loved one are forced to deal with time-consuming, costly probate procedures that could have been avoided or greatly simplified had their loved one had a will at the time of his or her death.
The estate planning attorneys of Lovett & House have been assisting individuals and families throughout Centerville, Ohio for many years as they plan for their future and protect their loved ones in the event of their death. Let us help you protect your family from the stress and cost of dealing with an intestate estate by developing a comprehensive estate plan that includes a will. Call (937) 429-7730 to speak with a Centerville wills attorney.
Why do I Need a Will?
If you are single, you don’t have children, or you have minimal assets, you may wonder why you even need a will. First, your life will change! Life events such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, and the loss of a loved one impact an estate plan. By having an estate plan already in place, you and your attorney can adjust as needed to take care of changes in your life as they occur. Waiting until you have a huge family and substantial assets is not the wisest way to go about estate planning.
Even more important, you need a will regardless of your family status or financial means if you don’t want the state of Ohio to decide how your property is divided upon your death. No one likes the thought of a state agency stepping in to make decisions for you and your loved ones after your death. The only way to stop this is to have a valid, legal will at the time of your death.
Testate or Intestate
For individuals who have a will at the time of their death, their estates are considered “testate” meaning a will is in place to direct how the estate will be managed and disbursed. A will allows you to appoint a person to administer your estate, decide who will receive your property, set up trusts for minors, provide for your pet, leave money to charity — basically you are in full control of how your estate is handled after your death.
However, if you do not have a will at the time of your death, your estate is considered an “intestate” estate. With an intestate estate, the Ohio intestate laws, passed by the Ohio legislature, govern how the estate will be administered.
The court appoints someone, maybe not who you would prefer, to administer your estate. The court decides who your heirs will be — no friends or charities are allowed, only blood relatives may be heirs and not all blood heirs may be eligible to inherit from your estate. Your pets cannot be taken care of from your estate, and you have no control over who receives specific items of property or the age at which a child can inherit his or her full share.
In other words, the court makes all decisions for you regarding your estate. The length of time, the cost, and the stress involved in an intestate estate are all much higher than administering an estate where the person had a will. Protecting your family from going through this process should be reason enough to encourage you to meet with a Centerville estate planning attorney as quickly as possible.
Estate Planning is Much More Than Just Writing a Will
In addition to having a will, you should also discuss a comprehensive estate plan that may include powers of attorney, healthcare directives, trusts, and long-term care planning.
One of the most important issues after signing a will is to ensure that you have a plan in place for long-term care. You don’t want to burden your family and risk losing your assets because you did not plan for long-term care.
Our Medicaid and Nursing Home Planning services can help you protect yourself, your family, and your assets in the event you require nursing home or assisted living facility care. As part of preparing your will and discussing your estate plan, our attorneys can also provide information and guidance on nursing home planning and Medicaid planning that can help you maximize your Medicaid benefits should you ever need them.
Don’t Wait — Call Our Office Now to Schedule Your Consultation with a Centerville Estate Planning Lawyer
As discussed above, we cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of having a will and a comprehensive estate plan. Please act now before your family must bear the burden of your procrastination.
Contact Lovett & House by telephone at (937) 429-7730 today to protect your family and give yourself peace of mind for the future.