Portage County Ohio Estate Planning
Estate planning is important at all stages of life. Younger people often seek the help of an estate planning lawyer because they have minor children and they want to make a decision about who is going to take care of their children if they should die. As people get older, they often become more interested in issues such as probate avoidance and asset protection. Regardless of your age, there are benefits to preparing your estate planning now.
At the Giulitto Law Office LLC in Ravenna, Ohio, we avoid high-pressure sales. You can come here for the information you need to make the decision on estate planning, and we can draft the documents you need.
Last Will and Testament
While you may have told your family how you want your estate distributed upon your death, your wishes won't be legally enforceable unless written in a document. That document could be a last will and testament or a living trust.
At the Giulitto Law Office LLC, our estate planning lawyers create last wills and testaments for people in Ohio. We also create living trusts and other estate planning documents such as living wills and powers of attorney.
A last will and testament is important at all stages of life. One reason younger families create a will is to name a guardian for minor children. A guardian is the person who will take care of your children if you die before they are 18 years old. If you don't name a guardian, the court would have to decide who will raise your children. As people accumulate assets such as savings and home equity, they want to set up instructions as to how those assets will get distributed when they die, how they can be used before distribution and at what ages to make distribution.
A living trust is a powerful estate planning document. It allows you to fully control your assets during your lifetime and fully provide for how you want those assets to be distributed after your death.
At the Giulitto Law Office LLC, our estate planning lawyers create all types of living trusts for people in Ohio. We also create living wills and powers of attorney.
One advantage of a living trust is that by incorporating the same language you use in your will, you can avoid the need for your heirs to go through the probate process. Probate in Ohio will take four months to a year and even a small estate will cost at least $750.00. With a trust, if someone dies today their successor trustee can be in power tomorrow. All the successor trustee needs is proof of the trust maker's death. The assets of the estate can usually be distributed in 30 to 60 days.
Probate is simply the process of the court transferring the assets from the name of the descendent to the name of that decedent's intended beneficiaries if there is a will, or to the names of the decedent's heirs at law if there is no will. The person responsible for the probate process is called an executor, administrator or personal representative.
At the Giulitto Law Office LLC, our probate lawyers represent people in Ohio who have been named executors of a deceased person's estate. We also represent beneficiaries who are troubled by the way an executor is distributing the estate and want to be sure their interests are protected. Our probate lawyers handle everything from:
- Taking an inventory of the assets.
- Handling creditor claims.
- Paying applicable taxes.
- Distributing the net assets to beneficiaries.
- Monitoring the probate process for the benefit of heirs.
- And, if necessary, getting involved in will contests.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
One of the most important estate planning documents that you can have is a durable power of attorney for healthcare (also called a medical power of attorney).
Most married people assume that their spouses would have the right to make medical decisions for them if they were incapacitated, but that is an assumption the law does not make. Without a healthcare durable power of attorney, the healthcare professionals will make those decisions. Without a healthcare durable power of attorney that contains the proper HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) language, your spouse might not even be able to review your medical records.
A durable power of attorney for healthcare is a power you give someone else, such as a spouse or an adult child. A healthcare durable power of attorney gives the person you name the authority to:
- Hire and fire doctors.
- Consent to surgery.
- Move you in or out of a hospital, nursing home or assisted living center.
- Make any and all medical decisions (other than end-of-life decisions, for which your agent needs an advance directive or living will).
At the Giulitto Law Office LLC, our estate planning lawyers create durable powers of attorney for both healthcare and financial decisions. The person named in a power of attorney document is typically called an agent or an attorney in fact. To be an attorney at law requires a law license, but anyone can be an attorney in fact.
General Durable Power of Attorney
A financial power of attorney can be general in form, meaning the person named can do anything you could have done, such as sign checks for you, sign deeds and transfer titles. A financial power of attorney can also be very specific, such as naming someone to act as your agent in a real estate transaction so that he/she can sign paperwork for closing.
A living will is an important estate planning document. This document allows the declarant to direct whether or not his/her life is to be artificially prolonged by extraordinary measures when the declarant is suffering from extreme physical or mental disability.