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Wills & Trusts

Transferring Property After Death: Last Will and Testament and Trust Planning

What a Will Can Do in Ohio Estate Planning
A Last Will and Testament is the estate planning document most are familiar with. If your estate is relatively small, a Last Will and Testament may be the only document you need to direct the distribution of your property. If your estate is larger, or your family situation is complicated, or you have a Trust as part of your estate plan, you will need a pour-over Last Will and Testament to transfer assets not yet in a Trust at the time of death into the Trust.

Transfer Assets and Provide Instructions
There are a number of other reasons why a Last Will and Testament should be one of the documents we include in your estate plan:

  • Planning your estate with a Last Will and Testament is less expensive than more complicated planning options.
  • You can include instructions for your funeral and burial in your Last Will and Testament.
  • You can name a guardian for your children in your Last Will and Testament
  • Even if you have a Trust, you still need a Last Will and Testament to ensure all of your assets go into the Trust upon your death.

Provide Flexibility to an Heir
An inheritance can change a life, but it can also have unintended consequences. An estate planning attorney can help you anticipate the consequences of your gift.

A tax-planned Last Will and Testament provides flexibility to the executor of the estate to make tax elections and other decision that will save taxes for the estate or for beneficiaries.

For high-net-worth beneficiaries, provision could be made in the Will to allow an heir to disclaim or refuse the inheritance, or the option to pass it along to another, like a child or grandchild. Having this flexibility is often important when considering the tax consequences for the beneficiary.

Is a Last Will and Testament the Right Document for Your Estate?

A Will is a powerful document; but it has limitations. Preparing a Will is only one part of a larger plan, which should include Powers of Attorney and perhaps a Trust. Columbus estate planning lawyers Hannah Botkin-Doty and Abbie Obenour will help you understand how a Will fits into your estate plan strategy.

Does Your Family Need a Trust?

Although a Last Will and Testament can serve as the core document for many estate plans, often families need a more advanced and flexible strategy that only a trust can provide. In essence – trusts are documents that allow a person to name a beneficiary of an asset but also provide that a third person (a trustee) will hold and administer the asset for the benefit of the beneficiary. For example, if someone has a child who is addicted to drugs or disabled, or simply has a child who is not old enough to inherit your property or mature enough to handle the assets, then a trust’s protections would be appropriate to provide for that beneficiary. Minor children cannot inherit property in the state of Ohio, and a trust is one way to protect them in the case of a parent’s death. We routinely prepare trusts and can help your family by creating trusts as part of your estate plan.