After a life of working hard, you want the assets you have acquired to be protected and the loved ones in your life to be taken care of. Fortunately, with a Canton estate planning and probate lawyer, you can make provisions before passing that will help ensure that your life’s work and the people you love are cared for in the way you see fit.
Slater & Zurz has been instrumental in helping thousands of clients create the circumstances that allow them to remain at the helm and control important decisions regarding their estates when they become incapacitated or pass on. Call (330) 968-2547 to speak with a lawyer in Canton and let us help you protect your future.
After a person dies, many legal issues may arise that can cause problems in the administration of their estate. With the decedent no longer present, their affairs — most often financial — must be settled in a just way and in a manner that reflects the desires, when appropriate, of the person who has passed.
In Ohio, you have the power to make arrangements that will subsequently govern the disbursement of your estate upon death. Doing so is important for those who want to control what happens to the assets they have acquired after years of hard work. Without making provisions, your property is subject to the general probate laws of disbursement.
Probate is invoked upon a person’s passing and exists to validate a will — when there is one — and ensuring that the estate is administered in a legally acceptable manner.
A judge is ultimately in charge of these proceedings, but an executor or personal representative must be appointed to administer the estate. Commonly, the executor will be named in the will. In the absence of a will, the court will appoint the executor. Often, a family member is chosen to fill this role.
Although probate is a notoriously cumbersome process, it allows the court to protect the estate of a deceased individual. However, various issues can cause probate to drag on for years.
Fortunately, some strategies are available to help you streamline probate — or avoid it altogether in some cases — and still allow your heirs and beneficiaries to enjoy your assets.
At Slater & Zurz, we have learned that successful estate planning begins with listening closely to our client’s wants and needs. When you meet with our Canton estate planning lawyer for an initial consultation, you can expect to be heard and to have your desires and interests put front and center in the planning process.
Based on your situation, our team will begin crafting a plan that achieves your estate planning goals and settles your estate effectively and promptly. When finished, you can rest assured that the most precious things in your life — from your family to your assets — will be taken care of how you see fit.
Helping individuals plan their estates is something we enjoy at Slater and Zurz. We get immense satisfaction when our clients feel they can live their lives without worrying about the future and how it will affect their loved ones and their resources.
As someone looking into estate planning, it is important to know that there are various tools available to your estate planning attorney to help you achieve the ends you seek.
Creating a will is similar to creating a contract stipulating how your assets will be distributed. If it is ultimately deemed valid, it will be respected by the court and executed by the administrator. Practically any situation you can imagine relating to your assets and life can be covered in your will, including:
- Naming an estate executor
- Creating a testamentary trust
- Naming guardians for your minor children
- Drafting provisions for the payment of debts and taxes
- Drafting provisions relating to the disbursement of your assets
Upon the passing away of the decedent, the court will seek to verify the will, which may be open to contestation by heirs and other interested parties. For this reason, having a seasoned Canton estate planning lawyer assist as you create your will is highly recommended to avoid problems in the future.
Trusts are an effective way of protecting your assets and ensuring your beneficiary can enjoy them. When it comes to estate planning, you can set up a trust before or after death.
Establishing the trust after death, which would occur through a provision in the will, means the trust is subject to the payout hierarchy established by probate law, which has the estate’s debts and administration fees being paid before heirs receive their portion. If there’s nothing left over, then there is nothing for the trust.
However, if you establish the trust beforehand, the trust bypasses probate and is therefore not subject to the debts and obligations owed by the estate. Trust is not part of the public record, unlike probate hearings.
Power of attorney is useful in estate planning to deal with future incapacitation. It effectively allows you to designate an agent (attorney-in-fact) to make important financial and legal decisions that you would normally make yourself.
For example, if you become ill at an advanced age and can no longer handle your financial affairs, a previously designated agent would step in and take over. You may also authorize an agent to act on your behalf with respect to health care decisions.
Since you are responsible for designating your power of attorney, you can decide the scope of the agent’s responsibilities. You can make the document as limited or sweeping as you need. Your estate planning lawyer will be particularly helpful in explaining the ramifications of your choices and advise you accordingly.
Various taxes from all levels of government are invoked upon the death of an individual and even before so. In order to minimize your exposure to their provisions, you must plan ahead.
A competent estate planning lawyer can advise you and help you structure your estate to reduce your liability to relevant tax laws, such as inheritance tax laws and lifetime gift tax provisions.
An estate planning attorney makes you aware of the multitude of planning options you have and advises you on strategic decisions most appropriate for your situation. In order to do this, an attorney for estate planning must listen carefully to your needs and desires and truly care about your unique situation.
Services a lawyer for estate planning can accomplish for you include:
- Creating a plan specific to your situation that fulfills your needs
- Will preparation and alteration
- Creating a power of attorney
- Setting up trusts to safeguard your assets
Your attorney for estate planning will also work to help reduce your tax exposure as well as draft and file all legal documents surrounding your case in a timely manner and according to mandated procedures.
Finding the right estate planning attorney in Canton can start with recommendations from friends and family. They are the ones who are often most likely to steer you in the right direction, especially if you are close.
Client reviews and testimonials on estate planning attorneys’ websites are also great sources for finding the right professional. But make sure to check more than one review site to make sure a 5-star attorney on one side has the same or similar reputation on other sites.
Finally, seek out a local professional. You want a lawyer who is familiar with the context of your life and can instantly relate to references you make. A local attorney will share a lot of common knowledge and assumptions with you, which will aid greatly in helping you plan your estate.
Call Slater & Zurz at (330) 968-2547 today to speak with a lawyer in Canton about your future.
Setting up the future you want for your loved ones and your estate requires more than just filling out paperwork; it also requires strategic planning to deal with potential issues and maximize the benefits your heirs receive. At Slater & Zurz, we work hand-in-hand with you to develop the plan that best reflects your desires. Nothing can replace years of experience providing quality legal services to clients. Our extensive history with estate planning cases gives us the insight we need to set your estate up for success. To speak to our lawyer for estate planning about your future, please call (330) 968-2547 for a free consultation.