Wills and trusts are legal documents that are part of estate planning. Estate planning is a process that includes directives on how you want your assets to be distributed after you pass away and who you would like to make decisions concerning your assets, finances, and personal care if you are incapacitated.
Many people think of a will only as a document designed to hand out money and possessions to family and friends. They might think of trusts as just for rich people. However, wills and trusts are appropriate for everyone, regardless of income level, and are a legal form of protection for you and your heirs.
Having legal protection in place if you get into an accident or die unexpectedly can give you peace of mind knowing that those you love are cared for. A Canton wills and trusts lawyer can explain which documents you need to ensure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you want.
Creating wills and trusts that are protected from legal disputes can be tricky, and many have legal ramifications for all parties involved. This is why securing advice from an experienced wills and trusts attorney can help.
When you’re ready to start the estate planning process, don’t hesitate to contact Slater & Zurz at (330)968-2547. Our experienced Canton legal team can help you understand all matters related to wills and trusts.
A will, or will and testament, is a legal document that states what happens to your property (real estate, bank accounts, jewelry, etc.) after you die. A will can also name a guardian for minor children, designate how taxes are paid, and name an executor who will manage your estate and disperse your assets according to the terms of your will.
The process is overseen by a probate court, which has strict standards as to how taxes are paid, heirs notified, and property distributed. A wills and trusts lawyer can make sure that your will goes through probate smoothly.
A living trust, while similar to a will, appoints a trustee to manage and distribute your money and property after you die instead of an executor executing the terms of your will.
Both wills and trusts can name beneficiaries and distribute property, but there are several differences between what each document can and can’t do. Depending on your family and financial circumstances, your lawyer for wills and trusts can draft one or both for you.
Property transferred through a living trust will not go through probate. Since this process can save your loved ones significant time and money, many people opt for a living trust over a will. However, there are some drawbacks to this. Specifically, living trusts are expensive to maintain, and they cannot establish guardianship of minor children.
An attorney for wills and trusts, like the ones at Slater & Zurz, can help you establish the documents you need and designate a responsible individual to act on behalf of your estate. Call us today at (330)968-2547.
If you have minor children and want to designate a guardian for them after you die, then you need a will in place so that the probate court and family law courts respect your wishes.
Otherwise, without a will, guardianship of your children may go to the closest living relative or whomever the courts determine will act in the best interests of your children.
Furthermore, even if you don’t think that you have much in the way of property, a will can still ensure that specific bequests, such as family heirloom jewelry, antiques, or even a record collection, are bequeathed to the individual you wish.
Unless these items are individually bequeathed to the person you wish to have them, the executor of your estate will simply liquidate them as part of your estate. Liquidation of the estate is typically what happens to make it easier to divide it financially among your heirs.
If you want to keep certain property, including real estate, out of probate, then you and your lawyer for wills and trusts in Canton can draft a living trust, which you can transfer property into. When you die, the property contained in the trust transfers to your beneficiaries. This can also include money or other tangible property.
Property in trust does not go through probate. Another reason you may want to have a trust instead of a will is to appoint a trustee in charge of the property in the trust.
For example, if you want your child to have a substantial amount of money, but you don’t want them to have it all at once, you may place it in trust, with a trustee guiding disbursements and approving expenses.
An estate planning lawyer in Canton can help you explore your options.
Even though it may seem that the primary reason for establishing a trust is to avoid having a will and stay out of probate, you still need a will.
First, a will designates guardianship of minor children or wards. A trust cannot name a guardian — only a will can. A wills and trusts lawyer in Canton can draft a will covering conservatorship for your children.
Another reason you may need a will is to allocate property you didn’t transfer into your living trust. Sometimes, people may forget to transfer certain property to the trust. (Not changing the deed on their house is a common one.) Other times, people may inherit more property or purchase it after establishing the trust.
Whatever the reason, any outstanding property — that which hasn’t been transferred to the trust — will not be distributed or allocated according to the trust’s terms. Therefore, that property will go through probate unless you have a will for a backup to set forth how you want it to be distributed.
If there is no will, as per Ohio law, that property will go to your closest relatives.
There are no laws that require wills and trusts to be complicated, but for most people outside of the legal profession, they can be tricky to understand.
Because living trusts cover not just the trustee’s duties but also what you want to do with your property, trusts tend to be more complex documents than wills. Instead of being signed by witnesses, trusts must be signed by a notary public. Then, the designated property must be properly transferred into the trust.
An experienced wills and trusts lawyer can ensure that every task is completed according to Ohio laws.
You may revise wills and revocable trusts should your wishes or circumstances change; the terms are not final until you die. However, an irrevocable trust may not be changed after it has been finalized, signed, and notarized.
Although all Ohio attorneys are legally able to draft a will or trust, not every firm focuses on this type of law. Wills and trusts are generally handled by probate lawyers, estate planning lawyers, or family law attorneys.
Look for a firm like Slater & Zurz, who is experienced in wills, trusts, and estate planning, to draft your documents. Our lawyers constantly check for changes and updates to Ohio probate law and codes and can thoroughly answer your questions and address your needs.
A trust attorney may represent either the trustee or the beneficiaries, although the same lawyer may not represent both parties. If you are a trustee, you may want to have a lawyer help you ensure that you’re compliant with the terms of the trust or file legal documents on your behalf.
If you are the beneficiary of a trust, you may want to hire a wills and trusts attorney to ensure that the trustee is operating according to the terms of your trust and in your best interests.
Look for a Canton attorney for wills and trusts who is a member of the Ohio state bar. This means that they’re legally able to represent you in court and are in good standing with the bar.
Seek out several law firms that offer estate planning services and interview them to find one who is a good fit. Estate planning can be emotional for many people, so it’s important to find a lawyer you can trust and who fully understands your circumstances and wishes for your estate and minor children.
Do you need to set up a will or trust as part of your estate planning? Slater & Zurz can help. We are Canton probate lawyers with the experience to create long-term legal protection for your situation.
Call us today at (330)968-2547 to arrange a consultation about estate planning for you.