Ranked as one of the best cities in the country for economic development, Dayton, Ohio, is a great place to work, live, raise a family, retire, and just enjoy life. In the birthplace of aviation and the home to some of the country’s best inventors, there is a great lesson to be learned from all those great minds: planning.
When a person plans, they help to reduce risk and increase the likelihood of success. While that may be easy to do in some situations, many of us find it difficult to plan anything related to the end of our lives. However, estate planning helps a Dayton individual, couple, or family to outline the desired results and provides the legal framework to increase the likelihood of achieving those results. Beyond this critical reason, there are numerous benefits to planning your estate. Yet, not many people in Dayton have an estate plan in place.
Why Plan Your Dayton Estate?
Everyone technically has an estate because we all have assets in our lives, whether they are tangible, like money and property, or they are priceless, like our loved ones and children. Together, these things encompass an estate that needs to be protected should you become disabled or die and are no longer there to claim or care for them.
Not having an estate plan puts assets at risk and potentially reduces the amount left for heirs to enjoy while raising the amount of taxes taken by the government. In recent years, we have also seen the ongoing changes to estate tax laws; planning techniques that once worked may now prove to be very costly.
The lesson here is that there is nothing good that comes for those who wait to do estate planning or never do it at all. No one wants to think about dying, but none of us really know when our time is up. That can be scary, but more worrisome is not being prepared should the unexpected happen. Here are some scenarios that you may not realize could happen if you do not plan your estate:
- An estate that is more than the exemption amount for federal estate taxes can be taxed as much as 40 percent.
- Should you become incapacitated or die, the state will then make critical decisions for you that will impact your heirs, including how much each will receive, and it may not be what you had wanted for them. For example, many states are fair when it comes to joint accounts and houses or those items where someone is listed as a beneficiary, but there are other assets, including assets that a spouse may have held separately, that are then in question and not often handled in a way that makes everyone happy. Fighting the state or each other is a costly and stressful process for those loved ones you leave behind.
- Beyond assets, other wishes will go unfulfilled as well, including health care when you are terminally ill and unable to speak for yourself. Instead, the physician will have to make decisions rather than a loved one that you would have designated had there been a plan in place. If the physician is not comfortable going forward with a procedure and there is no health care power of attorney or living will, then someone may have to go into court and obtain an order to make the appropriate decisions.
- If a business is involved, it could impact business continuity and lead to an adverse impact on revenue, brand reputation, and ongoing operations.
- When there are blended families, a death can intensify existing conflicts and lead to court battles that waste existing assets.
Everyone Benefits from Estate Planning
Estate planning is not just something for wealthy people in Dayton to do. Instead, it is a smart strategy for everyone that delivers benefits for young and old, single and married. For those with modest assets, estate planning offers critical help as they can tend to be more impacted than the wealthy by loss of assets due to poor planning.
Here’s what an effective estate plan can do:
- Provides the power to decide who gets what assets and when
- Determines legal guardianship for minor children along with instructions on caring for them and management of inherited assets
- Minimizes the tax burden
- Protects assets from unplanned creditors;
- Helps you organize your records to help family locate important information, including financial records, insurance policies, and titles
- Potentially prevents an estate from entering a lengthy and often costly probate process
- Offers an organized and efficient way to revise results if there has been any type of life change, including marriage, divorce, birth of a child, or death, as well as any type of adjustment that relates to your health or financial position
The Components of an Estate Plan
A comprehensive estate plan includes:
- Will or Trust
- Financial Affairs Power of Attorney
- Health Care Power of Attorney
- Living Will
- Life Insurance
- Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Planning
- Funeral Preparations
- Buy-Sell Agreement for those with ownership in a business
- Family Limited Partnerships for those with significant federal estate taxes
- Digital Estate Plan
The Ideal Law Firm in Dayton for Estate Planning
Despite all the benefits, estate planning can still be a daunting task, unless you can find an effective legal partner who can guide you through the process. When searching for a Dayton law firm that can provide you with the necessary expertise while helping you gain peace of mind, consider estate planning law firms that have the following attributes:
- Takes a consultative approach to estate planning, educating clients on what estate planning can do for them and offering them information on financial strategies they may have not previously considered, rather than offers a packaged estate planning service;
- Understands the impact of various external influences on estate planning, including changing economic and social factors;
- Maintains a current knowledge library of changing estate and gift exclusion regulations, especially when estate tax and probate implications are continuing to change;
- Offers estate planning solutions that illustrate that the law firm is experienced when it comes to working with individuals, couples, and families of all income brackets as well as provides for protection now and against future changes;
- Shows a track record of helping numerous clients develop a sound and effective estate plan;
- Delivers a clear and detailed description of the costs involved in hiring an estate planning law firm, including offering lower-cost solutions for potential clients that may have simple estate planning needs.
Estate Planning Services in Dayton, Ohio
Lovett & House Co., LPA founding partner George Lovett is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the Ohio State Bar Association. The Dayton, Tipp City, and Springfield estate planning attorneys at Lovett & House Co., LPA have leveraged their expertise and experience to ensure that each Dayton, Ohio, client has an estate plan in place to achieve the desired results.
Don’t be caught off guard by the unexpected and leave your loved ones unprepared. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to get more information about our Dayton, Ohio, estate planning services. During our meeting, we can listen and discuss your individual estate and then work together to create an estate plan that meets your unique needs, providing you with the peace of mind to enjoy your life. We also help with post-divorce estate planning.
Estate Planning Resources