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The Top 4 Reasons You Need to Consider an Estate Plan

The Top 4 Reasons You Need to Consider an Estate Plan
January 1, 2018 Shannon Dawes
Consider an Estate Plan

Columbus Estate Planning Lawyers Highlight Reasons You Need to Consider an Estate Plan 

Many people postpone the estate planning process or neglect to review and update their plan which results in forgoing tax benefits, efficient legacy transfer, asset protection, incapacity planning, and more. Our Columbus estate planning lawyers at Dawes Law, LLC have provided a number of important reasons that people need an estate plan, but these are only a few of the benefits of effective estate planning. A properly constructed estate plan entails a careful evaluation of your income, real estate, personal property, bank accounts, investments, family structure, business liability, lawsuit exposure, past divorces, children from prior relations, and a litany of other factors. If you have specific questions about your situation, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.

Blended Families: Given the high divorce rate, many people have children from prior marriages. When a parent has both biological or adoptive children and stepchildren, proper legacy succession planning is required to ensure that children from prior relationships receive the intended share of your estate. The issue of disposition of the family residence also can become complicated with blended families. In this situation, you might want your spouse to have the right to continue to live in the marital home until she passes away then have the home pass to your children from a prior relationship rather than stepchildren. An experienced Ohio estate planning attorney can help you ensure that you are able to distribute your legacy between your spouse, children, and stepchildren in accordance with your wishes.

Handling Retirement Accounts: Without careful consideration, the designated beneficiary of an IRA or similar retirement account might not use the funds as you intend. While the rules regarding designation of an insurance beneficiary have eased, improper handling of the insurance proceeds by the beneficiary can have adverse tax consequences. Prudent estate planning can assure that you select the appropriate beneficiary.

Children with Special Needs: If you have a special needs child, gifts and financial support from loved ones can compromise eligibility for government benefits programs contingent on financial needs testing. Without appropriate planning in providing this supplemental financial support to a special needs child, the gift can disqualify the child for SSI or Medicaid benefits. The net result is that the special needs child might be relegated to using his or her inheritance to provide for basic needs that could be covered by government benefit programs. Our Ohio estate planning law firm might be able to create a Special Needs Trust to facilitate the receipt of funds from the trust to cover supplemental expenses that are not covered by government programs.

Avoiding Intestate Succession: If you do not engage in ANY estate planning, you will pass away without a will or trust. People who die without either form of estate planning document will not have any say in the transfer of their assets to their heirs. When a person dies without a will or trust, state intestacy law will specify how the estate is distributed to surviving loved ones. These statutes are inflexible, so the distribution of your estate under the statute probably will not conform to your wishes. When the decedent has children from multiple marriages, children from prior relationships, former spouses, or stepchildren can be inadvertently disinherited.

Our Columbus estate planning lawyer at Dawes Legal, LLC understands that you might have specific questions about your situation, so we invite you to contact us to learn about your legal options. We invite you to call us today 614-733-9999 or email us.