As an estate planning attorney, I see what happens firsthand if somebody dies without a will. It's a common occurrence. In fact, most studies find that roughly half of Americans don't have one. It is called dying "intestate" if you pass away without an estate plan. When this happens, Ohio state law dictates what happens next.
Ohio residents can use estate planning to make certain provisions for situations in which they may be mentally or physically incapacitated. If such a situation arises, it is important that they have the appropriate legal documents in place so that it can be ensured that the decisions that will be made on their behalf are according to their wishes and preferences.
There are a number of reasons people might need to update an estate plan. One of those reasons is if the person has created an estate plan with the intention of avoiding estate tax. The estate tax exemption has increased significantly, and the provisions made might no longer be necessary. Another reason is if the estate plan was created in another state and the person then moved to Ohio.
Some people in Ohio may be aware that probate is the process a will goes through after the death of the person who created it, but they might not know all the steps involved. First, the will must be authenticated by a judge. Most wills name an executor to manage the estate. This person might also be referred to as the administrator or personal representative. If no one is named, the judge may appoint someone.
Trusts are a vital part of estate planning for many people in Ohio who want to manage their estate for the maximum tax benefit and flexibility in preparing to pass on their assets to their heirs. However, after a trust has been made and property retitled in the name of the trust, the person who created it may want to make some changes to its operations, beneficiaries or trustees. They may wonder how it is possible to change an existing trust in order to reflect changing life circumstances.