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Estate plans are not just for the wealthy

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2016 | Firm News, Wills |

There are many reasons that Ohio residents might need an estate plan that are not related to how wealthy they may be. For example, they might want to think about end-of-life care and who they would appoint to handle their health care and finances. This can be two different people, and more than one person can handle each responsibility. For example, when creating a power of attorney, people might choose two of their children or a child and an attorney to manage their finances if they are incapacitated. Long term care insurance can help prevent a scenario in which people lose all their assets if they go to a nursing home.

When it comes to passing assets down to beneficiaries, many people still think in terms of wills, but trusts can also be useful in a variety of circumstances. A trust can ensure that assets go directly to beneficiaries instead of getting tied up in probate.

Financial matters and arguing over estates can tear a family apart if planning is not done effectively. This was the case with the prominent Scripps media family. Heirs spent most of an estate worth $100 million and ended up in legal and familial feuds with one another. Experts recommend discussing an estate plan with family members to help reduce the potential for conflict.

Even for families who do not have huge fortunes, a trust can be one way to protect funds from irresponsible family members. For example, the trust can be set up so that the beneficiary only receives distributions at a certain time. If people want to bypass their children entirely and leave assets to their grandchildren, they can use a generation-skipping trust. Trusts can be set up to leave donations for charity while still generating income for beneficiaries or to tie distributions to specific accomplishments or milestones.

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