One of the basic steps in estate planning is the establishment of a will. This relatively short and inexpensive process, involving personal family questions, decisions, and analysis of property and assets is a key document to provide ease for loved ones and piece of mind for you on the handling your affairs after you pass.
Establishing your will, however, is only step one. Ensuring that it remains up to date throughout your life is critical to the document's effectiveness. Maintaining a relationship with a Cleveland estate planning attorney will make this process much easier.
Always remember, a will can be updated or changed at any time. In fact, it needs to be revisited at important life stages such as:
Purchase of a Home or Major Asset
In the state of Ohio, anyone age 18 or older who owns property or significant assets should establish a will. Without one, the decision about what happens to your property is made according to the laws of Ohio, not by you. Because it is common for property ownership to fluctuate over time, revisiting your "will regularly , or upon purchase or sale of a property, will assure property plans remain current.
Getting married marks another important time to execute a will if you don't have one, or revise your existing will. If you die without a will, Ohio law provides basic default options for your surviving spouse. A will allows you more customized control over what happens upon your death. Not only can you specify how your assets are distributed and when, you can choose who executes your will and follows through its instructions. Having a will allows you to make considerations not only for your spouse, but other family members, loved ones and charitable organizations.
In the event of a divorce, your Cleveland estate planning attorney can easily help you revise your will to accommodate your new family situation. Further, the divorce process can be lengthy and you will likely want to update your will as soon as you express your intent to divorce. After the divorce it is finalized, your will can be updated again with any needed changes.
When a child is born, it is both a time to celebrate and a time to plan. Your will is an important planning tool when it comes to your children. Determining who will take care of your children is a valuable right. If both you and your spouse die without a will that specifies guardians for your minor children the state will decide who will be their guardian regardless of your wishes. Nominating a guardian for their children is the number one reason most parents begin to think about the estate planning process. The will is the proper place to make this important nomination.
These delicate but important family issues are things that estate planning attorneys discuss every day with their clients. It's important to talk through and make a plan now instead of leaving decisions to a system that does not know you personally.
Other Significant Life Changes
Life can be complicated, and the point of your will is to make sure that your final wishes are aligned with your beliefs. For most people, their will is a simple document that ensures assets are immediately and seamlessly passed on to those closest to them. However, a will is only one part of even a basic estate plan. Proper estate planning can be used to handle fluid situations. Perhaps you have a child struggling with substance abuse and want to make sure they are recovered before receiving an inheritance. Maybe your kids have some more growing up to do, or you wish for them to graduate college, obtain employment or reach other life milestones. As has made recent celebrity news, maybe you have a pet that you wish to care for. No matter your wishes or situation, an experienced Cleveland estate planning attorney has likely seen it all and can help you devise a plan.
Why An Up-To-Date Will Is So Important
Thinking about end of life issues can be an uncomfortable topic, but as we all have been told death and taxes are all that's certain. A will and estate planning can help with both. Without proper planning you essentially give up control over your assets, and allow Ohio, and sometimes Federal, law to determine what happens to property.. Having a will is one tool that allows you to control what happens upon your death. Keeping it up to date will give you piece of mind throughout your life. The Cleveland Estate Planning Law Firm of James Bart Leonardi, LLC, forms lasting relationships with clients and keeps current with Ohio and Federal laws affecting estate planning.
To discuss wills and estate planning matters, contact James Bart Leonardi, LLC to schedule a consultation.