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A 2011 poll found that around 60 percent of Americans do not have a will. Many Ohio residents may think that they do not need a will because they are too young; however, death or incapacity may occur unexpectedly at any age. If a will is not in place, then the state will decide what becomes of a person’s assets and who gets what. Even with a will, an estate must pass through probate before assets can be distributed. If there is not a will, the process could take longer and be more expensive.

A will may be a good idea for parents because they can use it to appoint a guardian to take care of their children. Estate planning documents are also necessary for those who want to leave behind donations to charity.

When a person writes a will, they also appoint an executor who is responsible for overseeing the estate and distributing assets. This person may be more effective than the individual that a court would otherwise appoint. An estate plan, which may include a will, a trust and other documents, can also help beneficiaries save on taxes.

A person might want to work with an attorney to create an estate plan. It is important that legal language is used correctly and that the testator’s intentions are clear. An attorney could also work with an individual to create other documents that are important in an estate plan. For example, a power of attorney is used to appoint someone to handle financial matters if the testator becomes incapacitated. A living will provides instructions for end-of-life care.