Understanding The Importance Of A Will
Most people may have an idea of what purpose a last will or “will” serves. A will is one of the several legal documents or “instruments” that comprise an estate plan. A will allows you to express your wishes regarding the transfer of your assets when you die. It is also the document wherein you appoint a person you trust as your personal representative or executor.
A personal representative or executor is responsible for completing a person’s final affairs, including inventorying and paying final debts, filing final state and federal tax returns if necessary, lodging the will in the probate court and initiating the probate process.
If you have children who are minors, a will can include a section for nominating your choice of guardian for their care if you and the children’s other parent die. Your will can also include your instructions for funeral arrangements or your burial instructions.
If you die without a will, your assets will be subject to distribution under Ohio’s probate laws. For some, this could be a devastating outcome as family members under the law could inherit and not the people you did wish to have your assets. In conjunction with a will, it is also recommended to create powers of attorney and a living will in the event of your incapacity.
What Is A Trust?
A trust is a written agreement that creates a fiduciary relationship between the grantor or trustor (the creator of the trust) and the trustee (the person who controls the trust). The “trustor” and “trustee” are often the same person upon creating the trust or until it designates a successor trustee. A person or an organization who are designated by the trustor to receive benefits from the trust is called a beneficiary. The trustee or successor trustee has a fiduciary duty to put the beneficiary’s interests before their own interests and to safeguard and grow the assets within the trust. Trusts are flexible instruments and can be created in place of a will or in addition to a will. Mike can assist with determining what type of trust best suits your needs, such as:
- Irrevocable trusts
- Revocable trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Charitable trusts
A trustor transfers ownership of property titles, bank accounts and some investments into the trust’s name to fund the trust. There are certain tax advantages and elder care benefits to creating a trust sooner rather than later. Even a simple trust can be complicated. It is best to speak with an experienced trust attorney to minimize future disputes between the trustee, beneficiaries and heirs.
As a certified estate planning lawyer and non-practicing CPA, Mike Conway is uniquely qualified to customize wills, trusts and asset protection strategies for larger estates with complex assets.
Today Is The Day
Contact Mike for a consultation to create your estate plan. He will help you shape your will or your trust to suit your needs. A certified estate planning, trust and probate attorney by the Ohio State Bar Association, Mike has the experience and knowledge to answer your questions and provide the comprehensive assistance you are seeking. Call the Law Office of W. Michael Conway at 937-741-3988 or initiate a consultation by sending an email through this secure website.