» Estate Planning

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a document where you give another person the authority to act as your agent or attorney in fact. They can be used for a number of reasons. Some typical uses are to give someone authority to handle your affairs if you become disabled, to purchase property for you if you are not available, to handle your affairs as you age and you find it more difficult to handle things on your own. There also is a health care power of attorney that allows another person to make decisions regarding your medical treatment if you are unable to.

What is a living trust?

A living trust becomes effective during the lifetime of the person who created the trust. The creator of the trust can alter or revoke the living trust during his lifetime. A living trust will generally eliminate the need for conservatorship and the trust assets generally pass outside of probate proceedings. This is because the living trust usually contains instructions for managing trust assets during the creator's lifetime and instructions for distributing trust assets upon the creator's incapacity or after his or her death.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of another person or entity. They can be revocable or irrevocable based on the estate planning objectives of each individual client. They can be used to provide financial support, pass assets to persons or charities outside probate, to sometimes minimize the burden of estate taxes or for any number of other goals. There exist a number of trusts that you may use to reach your estate planning objectives. These include a living trust or testamentary trust and other trusts which serve specific needs.

Can I change my will?

Yes. Your will is valid and effective until it is revoked, destroyed or invalidated by writing a new will. You can make a whole new will or you may alter an existing will by making a codicil. A codicil modifies an existing will so long as it is executed in compliance with applicable state law. You cannot simply cross out language within your current will or add a new provision as this type of action does not usually meet the legal requirements for executing a valid will.

What is a last will and testament?

A will is a written legal document that contains instructions for distributing your assets after your death. You may also nominate a guardian for your minor children. Your will must be formally executed in order to be considered valid by the Ohio courts. It must conform to Ohio state laws in order to be enforceable.

Attorney Bart Leonardi

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