Without your clear instructions, family disputes can arise over your estate, your medical treatment and the guardianship of your children in case of incapacity or death. Instead of allowing stress and drama to overwhelm your family, drafting a carefully thought-out estate plan can better preserve peace within the family and protect your cherished legacy.
Also, by mitigating the stress your family and friends might face after your departure, they can dedicate their energies more completely to honoring and preserving your life and memory.
Where to begin
Consider initiating your estate plan with these essentials:
- Last will and testament: Dying without a will is known as dying intestate. If this were to happen to you, Ohio’s intestacy laws would dictate the distribution of your assets and property, which may not necessarily reflect your wishes. It could leave some of your loved ones disinherited or the state to disregard their needs. Having a last will ensures that your estate passes on to the people you cherish most.
- Living trust: A living trust grants you the privilege of placing your chosen assets in a trust during your lifetime. Should you pass away or become incapacitated, your trustee will be able to manage those assets according to your wishes. However, they will not have the authority to manage assets outside the trust.
- Health care power of attorney: This document authorizes your chosen health care representative to make medical decisions for you should you become incapacitated. Without this, your loved ones may face difficulty in determining the course of your medical treatment and they might reach a conclusion that does not mirror your preferences.
The pitfalls of not having an estate plan
The absence of an estate plan could leave your loved ones in disarray, resulting in conflicts that may harm your legacy instead of uplifting it. While grieving the death of a loved one, the stress of disputes over inheritances can damage familial bonds.
Moreover, the state could manage your estate in a way that is unfavorable to you. Building a well-made estate plan affords you more control over your legacy and potentially shields your family from additional difficulties after your passing. Consider working with an estate planning attorney to draft an estate plan that considers your unique requirements and honors your wishes.