Sophisticated Estate Planning Services
Wolterman Law Office works hard to develop lifelong relationships with our clients and assist with all of their legal needs. In no other area of law is this approach more valuable as it is in estate planning and asset preservation.
Estate planning is a process that requires a trusting relationship between the attorney and the family, which is often developed over years and across many life events. Whether you are young or elderly, having an effective estate plan is paramount. You can depend on our dedicated attorneys to assist you in structuring and maintaining a personalized estate plan that reflects your life and goals.
Should I Create an Estate Plan if I am Single?
It is never pleasant to discuss the possibility of passing away, becoming incapacitated, or what will happen to your loved ones and personal belongings after you pass on. However, estate planning is important whether you are single or the head of a large family. In addition to minimizing taxes and expenses, a well-crafted estate plan allows single individuals to help loved ones avoid future legal hassles.
An estate plan can also be designed to prevent assets from becoming public, which can protect a family’s privacy. Anyone with children, property, or any other kinds of assets should seek the guidance of an experienced lawyer to protect themselves and their loved ones.
When Should I Start Estate Planning?
It is never too early to start considering getting assistance with an estate plan. Any person with a family, a home, and other assets should take steps to protect their loved ones and plan ahead. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure all of your personal and financial goals are properly addressed.
Our attorneys will ensure your estate plan addresses critical issues, such as:
- State and federal estate and gift tax consequences.
- Asset valuation.
- Placing assets out of reach from creditors.
- Drafting wills and establishing trusts.
- Health care directives and power of attorney (POA).
- Business succession planning.
- Family partnerships.
- Providing support for family members with special needs via trust planning.
Considerations in Your 20s
Once an individual turns 18 years old, parents or guardians no longer have the authority to make decisions about their finances or health care. Life is unpredictable, particularly at this stage in an individual’s life. For this reason, it is advisable to meet with an lawyer to establish a POA and health care directive, as well as a will if you have children or financial assets.
A POA names someone you trust who is willing to make critical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to for any reason. A POA is only effective while the person is alive. There are several kinds of POAs, the most common being financial POAs and health care POAs.
Considerations in Your 30s
Many people have established careers, bought houses, and had children by the time they are in their 30s. This is a good time to meet with an experienced attorney to discuss wills and trusts, as well as life insurance.
A will is a written document that clarifies a deceased person’s wishes, such as leaving cash and valuables to friends, family members, or a charity, or naming a guardian for a minor child. Wills are subject to probate and are active only upon the individual’s passing.
Unlike a will, a trust is valid the day it is created. A trust establishes a fiduciary relationship between the grantor and the person they give the authority to manage their assets. There are several types of trusts available. They are either revocable or changeable while the trustor is alive, or irrevocable once they become active. Many people prefer trusts because they allow the trustor to pass property on to beneficiaries immediately prior to one’s passing and without the need for probate court.
Considerations in Your 40s
By the time individuals reach their 40s, it is wise to consider more regarding the distribution of assets. A person in their 40s has likely accumulated more income, investments, and property. This is the ideal time to review all estate documents and beneficiary designations to make sure they are accurate.
It is also time to start thinking about medical decisions and to make any changes to health care directive and POA documents. Although 40 is still considered young, it is a good idea to consider long-term care planning at this point. It is always better to have a plan in place than to unexpectedly leave loved ones wondering if they are making the right decisions.
Considerations in Your 50s and Beyond
It is not uncommon to start estate planning later in life. Although estate planning is not something you should delay, it is also never too late to get started with the guidance of a trusted lawyer.
Life insurance is an important consideration at this stage, particularly if the individual has a spouse or children. The death benefit helps loved ones pay household bills, mortgages, college tuition, and other expenses. The right type of life insurance policy and coverage depend on the individual’s financial needs and goals.
What Can Estate Planning Do For Me?
It is advisable that everyone has a customized estate plan that protects everything they have worked hard for and provides for those they love in the years to come. Estate planning with the assistance of a lawyer can help to:
- Ensure smooth transitions of assets should you become disabled, or after your death.
- Minimize the impact of taxes on your estate.
- Minimize the value of your assets in probate court.
- Avoid lengthy process in probate court.
- Prevent family conflict.
What Types of Estate Planning Options Should I Consider?
It is important to consider estate planning options that suit both your personal and financial goals. You want to consider if you have enough life insurance for your family’s needs, and when children are involved, it is vital to name a guardian in case of an unexpected tragedy.
There are steps everyone should take to prepare for the estate planning process.
Inventory of All Assets
The first step is to account for your possessions, including:
- Land and property.
- Cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles, and other vehicles.
- Jewelry, art, coins, and other collectibles.
- Checking and savings accounts.
- 401(k) and retirement funds.
- Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
- Business interests.
- Life insurance policies.
As life moves along and people get married and have children, it is essential that they name their beneficiaries on their estate plan documents. It is also important to review the beneficiaries on your estate plan document regularly. Making an appointment with your lawyer at least once a year is highly recommended.
It is also important to review your estate plan document after any major life change. Life changes that warrant an estate plan review include:
- Birth of a child.
- Death of a loved one.
- Newly acquired wealth.
- Major job change.
- Separation and divorce.
- Purchase of land or property.
- Major illness.
What Are Some “Must Haves” for a Good Estate Plan?
No two individuals or families are exactly the same, and your estate plan documents should reflect your personal circumstances and financial goals. A skilled lawyer can analyze your situation, discuss your personal goals, and implement a tailored estate plan that protects you and your loved ones.
There are some “must haves” that help ensure your final wishes and financial goals are met, including the following:
- Health care directive.
- Medical care directive.
How Can I Avoid Estate Planning Errors?
The best way to avoid estate planning errors is to hire an experienced lawyer. Attorneys are knowledgeable in matters related to protecting and passing on your assets. They can help to ensure that your estate planning process goes properly and effectively.
There are common estate planning mistakes, including:
- Failure to prepare.
- Lack of communication with family and friends.
- Not naming more than one beneficiary.
- Neglecting to name POAs or health care representatives.
- Not documenting final wishes and arrangements.
- Not considering digital assets.
- Forgetting about charities.
You may not know exactly what tomorrow holds, but with our help, you can act today. A clear estate plan can serve as a lasting gift to your loved ones, freeing them from the stress of making sense of your estate and wishes.
Speak to an Ohio Estate Planning Attorney About Your Estate Needs
We look forward to helping you plan for your family’s future. There is no better time than right now to get started. Call us at 513-790-4207 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. From our office in Loveland, Ohio, we provide estate planning representation to clients in Mason, Greater Cincinnati, and Southwest Ohio.