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Sidney, Ohio is home to many historical sites, including the People’s Federal Savings and Loan Association, designed by influential architect, Louis Sullivan. The Big Four Bridge is another local landmark that has carried rail traffic since 1924, used by CSX; the north-south rail line was originally known in early years as the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, then later, as the Chessie System. Until the 1960s, Sidney residents could take the Knickerbocker Limited from Sidney to Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The Dixie Highway (later known as US 25, and now known as County Road 25A), ran north-south through downtown Sidney, connecting to Toledo and Detroit to the north, and Dayton and Cincinnati to the south. I-75 was completed in the early 1960s.
Sidney had approximately 22,000 residents as of the 2010 census; today’s Sidney, the county seat of Shelby County, is largely an agricultural area, including grain commodities, livestock, and dairy activities. Sidney is now the headquarters for a number of companies that were formed and continue to be operated by local residents. In addition to these Sidney-based employers, Honda of America operates an engine plant seven miles north of Sidney and remains the single largest employer in Shelby County.
The Graceland Cemetery features monuments and memorials that include large concrete angels, while the Historic Sidney Theatre harkens back to the 1930s and has been a fixture in the Shelby County community for decades. Theatrical acts, live musical performances, and cinematic presentations make the Historic Sidney Theatre a favorite for locals and visitors alike. The River’s Edge Roadhouse is another Sidney fixture, for mouthwatering pizza and live music.
Serving the Estate Planning Needs of Sidney, Ohio Residents
Those in Sidney, Ohio, who find themselves in need of estate planning services—such as the preparation of wills or trusts—could greatly benefit from the legal services of Lovett & House. Our attorneys have been serving the legal needs of Sidney residents since 1989. We understand that estate planning services are a concern for many of those in Shelby County, regardless of the size of the estate. We are committed to helping every adult have a comprehensive estate plan to ensure his or her wishes are honored in the event of death or incapacitation.
Why are Wills and Trusts Important?
Having an Ohio Will or Trust (or both) is both valuable and necessary to protect your family, your assets, and your legacy. Having a valid will/trust in place also ensures your wishes are carried out following your death. Unfortunately, far too many of us put off estate planning. When there is no estate planning, an Ohio estate is forced into probate complexities, sometimes costly estate taxes, and any number of other problems. Poor planning while you are alive can result in your estate shrinking alarmingly after your death.
Further, when you fail to engage in estate planning, an Ohio court will determine who gets your assets, and a judge may decide who will raise your minor children—either of which could result in choices you would not have made. While having a will is important, having only a will can bring certain limitations. Many people still operate under the belief that if they have a will, everything is fine, which is simply not true. A will gives instructions to the Ohio probate court but fails to offer an alternative to probate court. Engaging in the preparation of a will or trust can certainly be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be when you have an experienced Sidney, Ohio estate planning attorney by your side.
What are the Implications and Effects of Dying Without a Will or Trust?
If you die in the state of Ohio without a will, the law considers you to have died “intestate,” or without a written, legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed upon your death. There are several negative consequences for your loved ones should you die intestate, including:
- Intestacy laws of Ohio will determine who will receive your property.
- The “descent and distribution” section of the intestate statute favors family members and heirs that are closely related to you, like your spouse and children.
- If your children are minors, then a Guardianship arrangement is likely to tie up the inheritance until they turn 18—then they would receive everything at once.
- If you have no surviving heirs, the state could end up with your property, since friends and charities are not considered heirs under Ohio intestacy laws.
- The person you would have chosen as your executor may not be the person chosen by the Ohio Probate Court.
As you can see, there are many adverse consequences of failing to have a well-executed will or trust in place prior to your death, and since death happens even to those who are not elderly, the sooner you engage in estate planning, the better.
What are the Differences Between a Will and a Trust?
While both wills and trusts are useful estate planning devices, the two can work together to create a comprehensive estate plan. While a trust will only cover assets that have been included, a will covers any property in your name at the time of your death. One primary difference between a will and a trust is that while a trust takes effect as soon as it is created and funded, a will does not go into effect until after your death. When you make a will, you appoint a legal representative, or an executor, to make sure your wishes are properly executed; a trust allows you to distribute your property at different times—before you die, after you die, or at the point that you become incapacitated.
Since a trust passes outside of probate, a court does not oversee the process, making a trust much more private than a will, in addition to saving time and money on the probate process. A will becomes part of public record once probate is initiated (and probate must be initiated with a will, or when a person dies intestate), accessible to anyone. A guardian for your minor children can be named in a will—something you cannot do with a trust, so if you have children who are not yet 18, or you have an adult child with disabilities, you should consider a will in addition to a trust. Finally, a trust can go into effect in the event you become incapacitated, providing instructions to your chosen personal representative, while a will cannot.
Further, a trust can protect vulnerable beneficiaries, while a will or transfer on death designations cannot. If, when you die, one of your beneficiaries is in a divorce or a bankruptcy, under threat from creditors, or is drinking, gambling, or drug-impaired, a will or beneficiary designation cannot help them. They could lose their inheritance. Or, if a beneficiary is receiving social security disability or other government benefits, they could have too much money, lose their eligibility for those benefits, and have to reapply once they’ve spent their inheritance. But if you have a trust, that instrument can contain language that protects the beneficiary, so they do not lose their inheritance or their government benefits. A will or a beneficiary designation cannot provide this protection. You must have a trust to do that.
Helpful Information to Have Prior to Meeting with a Sidney, Ohio Estate Planning Attorney
In a perfect world, you should bring the following information to your first meeting with your Sidney, Ohio estate planning attorney:
- Family information, including full names, ages, and contact information for your spouse, former spouse, partner, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren
- Financial information for any non-retirement assets—bank accounts, stocks, bonds, investment accounts, and how each account is titled
- Life insurance information
- Information for all real property, including outstanding mortgage information
- Retirement savings information (the type of asset, where held, beneficiary information)
- Information regarding tangible personal property
- Inheritance information
- Business information
However, the most important thing is to get started! Don’t wait to assemble this information! Over half of all Americans have nothing in writing. Although this information is helpful for the attorney, do not let this slow you down. The most important thing is to call Lovett & House at 937-667-8805 and make the appointment for the initial consultation. The sooner you get started, the sooner this gets done.
How a Sidney, Ohio Estate Planning Attorney from Lovett & House Can Help
If you are ready to have a Will or Trust prepared, call Lovett & House now at 937-667-8805. Attorney George Lovett is certified as a specialist in estate planning, trust, and probate law by the Ohio State Bar Association. He was born at Wilson Memorial Hospital. He understands Sidney and the estate planning needs of folks in the Miami Valley. At Lovett & House, we have the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to create a comprehensive will, a trust, or an entire estate plan. Contact Lovett & House today!