Enjoying a life in Dayton, Ohio, means having a world of opportunities and inspiration surrounding you and your family. With a rich heritage for innovation and invention, our city offers a safe and stable environment to start a career, raise a family, and retire. Despite its top-rated economic development and ability to create wealth, Dayton cannot change one simple fact of life: being human means having a limited lifespan.
Despite knowing this fact, most of us do not plan for our death, including what to do with the assets and minors left behind. It’s not that we don’t worry, but it’s that we get caught up in our daily lives, forget to plan for the future, or just think we have more time to prepare a will later.
What Is a Will?
A will is defined as a legal document that allows the person who has made the will to designate who can receive that person’s assets when he or she dies, who can serve as executor over that asset distribution process, and who can become a guardian should there be young children now without a parent to care for them.
Everyone Needs a Will in Dayton
The need to make a will is not determined by a person’s wealth. Instead, wills are for anyone who wants to protect his or her assets and loved ones. Without a will, the state then makes these decisions on your behalf, and the conclusions they reach are either not what you wanted or the process becomes so lengthy and costly that your loved ones are left with fewer assets.
The author of a will only has to be of a legal age, which is considered to be 18 years or older, and of a sound mind. A will becomes valid when it is signed by the author and witnessed by two others who cannot be a recipient of anything in the will. In Ohio, a will is not notarized. Instead, it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses who sign the instrument and acknowledge they saw the signatory sign it.
The Consequences of No Will
There are a number of scenarios that illustrate why you do not want to go without a will any longer:
- If you die in a car accident that was not your fault, the executor you designate in your will could pursue a wrongful death suit to recover against the party at fault. If there is no will, then the family would have to determine who would bring that lawsuit.
- If you die without appointing an executor, the court then appoints an administrator to disburse all property that was not jointly owned with a survivor. This appointed administrator must also post a bond that is paid out by the estate.
These reasons are not intended to scare or threaten but rather to illustrate the importance of creating a will. After all, you don’t want your loved ones, including minor children, to not be protected or cared for by the people that you want to look after them, and you certainly don’t want your assets to not be shared with those who deserve them.
Information Found in Wills
As part of the estate planning process, a basic will contains specific information that often includes the following:
- Directions on how to disburse property and other assets, including the sale or transfer of a house, liquidation of bank accounts, and designation for other items, like furniture, pets, and valuables as well as the value of all these assets;
- The person that should execute the will’s instructions; and
- The guardian for any minor children, including how they will be cared for and until what age.
Working with a Lawyer vs DIY Wills in Dayton
Whether it is purchasing a computer program or downloading a will form from the Internet, it seems like people have the option of just doing their own basic wills. However, there are many reasons why a DIY will is not the best choice when it comes to protecting assets and your loved ones.
Oftentimes a will is not the correct instrument to address a person’s estate plan. For example, joint and survivor accounts or transfer on death accounts pay the assets directly to a beneficiary. A will has no affect on those assets. Moreover, sometimes a person has special needs and cannot inherit money directly or else they could lose governmental benefits. For those persons, or folks with joint and survivor or transfer on death accounts, a trust may be the better way to go. It takes an experienced attorney to understand these matters and to determine how to plan with them. Estate planning software does not do this.
While it may be claimed that a person can save money doing his or her own will with software, this is not the case, as lawyers do not charge excessive fees for basic wills. Instead, they leverage their knowledge, experience, and expertise to provide a will and/or living will that give you peace of mind. Their invaluable advice provides exceptional value versus software that does not personally address your unique situation.
DIY will software also does not help when and if the time arises for situations that require a power of attorney or separate documents, like burial instructions. These types of documents can be drawn up by an estate planning legal firm who has experience with all types of unforeseen circumstances that arise in people’s lives.
Software cannot foresee or understand that, but legal professionals know what other types of questions to ask and information to cover. Ongoing changes to state laws may not always be reflected in your will software. This includes what may seem like small details but could end up meaning your DIY will is null and void, putting your assets and heirs at risk.
Selecting a Dayton Legal Firm for a Will
Although developing a will is fairly straightforward, there are many questions and concerns when you are not familiar with the process. Look for a Dayton lawyer that offers the following attributes related to will creation:
- The lawyer should specialize in wills and estate planning.
- Get a reference from someone else that has used that estate planning law firm to ensure that they had a good experience.
- Partner with a Dayton law firm that is transparent and upfront about how they charge for their time.
- Take advantage of an initial consultation to interview the Dayton law firm, ask questions, and get a feel for how they work to see if they know what they are doing and see how they would work with your individual situation.
Will Creation in Dayton, Ohio
Attorney 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 the knowledge and expertise to create a comprehensive will for you in just a few days. They can also generate same-day emergency wills and bring them to Dayton, Ohio, nursing homes or Dayton, Ohio, hospitals to assist those customers who are in special situations.
To get your life in order and gain peace of mind, contact us now to schedule an appointment or to get more information about our Dayton, Ohio, will services.