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Painter and Associates Blog

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Use Caution When Looking at Do-It-Yourself Wills

Be careful! With the COVID19 pandemic, we are seeing many entities advertise do-it-yourself wills and other estate planning to be done at home and without an attorney. This is nothing more than advertisers trying to make a quick buck while setting you up to have your estate planning frustrated by poorly and incorrectly worded documents and improperly executed wills and other estate planning documents.


What you need to know to properly execute your Last Will and Testament in Ohio is that a handwritten or typed will must be signed by the testator and by at least two disinterested witnesses. A testator is the person whose will is being signed. If the testator is unable to sign the will but is competent, the testator may expressly direct another person to sign the will in the testator’s conscious presence.


Oral wills are permitted in Ohio when made in the last sickness. They are only valid with respect to personal property and the will must be reduced to writing and signed by two disinterested witnesses within 10 days of the testator speaking the testamentary words.

A holographic will is a will that is entirely written and signed by the testator. A self-proving or self-authenticating will is a will with a notarized statement that states the will is true and authentic. These types of wills are not valid in Ohio because they are not signed by at least two disinterested witnesses.


Contact us at (614) 319-3306 to ensure you have a properly executed estate plan.

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Estate Planning for Non-Traditional Families

Today’s families are not the “traditional” families like we have had in the past. Only about 35% of American families are comprised of a traditional heterosexual married couple with children.  Adult households today are comprised of:

  • Blended families
  • Divorced families
  • Cohabiting couples
  • Same sex couples
  • Intentionally single parents
  • Single persons
  • Polyamory relationships
  • Families with non-marital children

All of these categories are growing and changing. This change in the make-up of today’s families creates additional need and urgency to have an updated estate plan and will.  Don’t assume that just because you are cohabitating as a family unit that current laws and definitions are sufficient to cover everyone you want treated as a beneficiary.

So, what should you be thinking about?

  • Blended families. Over 50% of families are now comprised of adults who are remarried or re-coupled. Are your stepchildren covered sufficiently in your new family plan? Do you want them to be treated equally in your plan as your biological children?  If they are not, have you thought of the emotional and financial consequences that can cause in the future?
  • Unmarried partners. Some laws might not cover your partner should you not have your wishes clearly documented. Imagine your sibling having rights to your estate instead of your partner for the last 10 years because you did not express your wishes in a legal format.
  • Divorced families. Are you concerned that your ex-spouse will be able to adequately take care of your children should you pass? Have you set up your estate plan to efficiently protect your assets from your ex yet still provide for your children and their futures?

There are many additional scenarios to think about when creating your will and estate plan. The lawyers at Painter & Associates have extensive experience helping non-traditional families in creating the best estate plans that work for them.

 

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Have an Open Discussion About Your Death Plan

Planning for the future can be hard for many, but it's so important to speak up about your wishes after your death.  We found this great TEDxColumbus talk by an expert in hospice care. Cathe explains most simply that talking about death will ease your relatives from the pain that occurs at death, but actually planning it will not kill you. 

Your estate plan and will can spell out exactly what you expect after your death, so that you can feel peace that your wishes are carried out the way you want. Planning in advance lifts the burden from your loved ones during a difficult time.

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Estate Planning Myths

  We are always trying to educate people on why estate planning is so important for anyone regardless or age, wealth and family status. However, there are still some common myths out there about estate planning. 

A recent article in Forbes does a nice job of debunking all the myths. Read it here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/rcarson/2019/05/05/4-estate-planning-myths-that-refuse-to-die/#1a912fc24646  

Contact the experienced lawyers at Painter & Associates to start your estate planning. 

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Advance Health Care Directives and Estate Plans

Most clients that contact our office for estate planning services ask about a Last Will and Testament or a Trust.  But Advance Health Care Directives are just as important to your estate plan.  Who makes your health care decisions for you if you are unable to communicate your wishes?  How will your family and health care providers know what health care decisions you want made on your behalf?

In Ohio, there are four advance health care directives that should be considered with your estate plan.  They are:

  1. Ohio Health Care Power of Attorney
  2. Ohio Living Will Declaration
  3. Ohio Donor Registry Enrollment
  4. Ohio Do Not Resuscitate Order

It can be difficult to start thinking about decisions that will need to be made concerning your own health care issues.  It can be next to impossible to then share those decisions with your family.  At Painter & Associates, we have those difficult conversations with you, we work through various scenarios with you, and we assist you in drafting advance health care directives that are specific to your needs and wishes.

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Start Your Estate Planning

Still don’t have an estate plan?

With the new year, it’s time to begin planning for your loved ones should something happen to you. We have reviewed why estate plans are for everyone in an earlier post

As a reminder, an estate plan may include one or all of the following depending on your needs:

- A will

In a will, you state who you want to inherit your property and name a guardian for your young children should something happen to both parents.

- Assignment of power of attorney

With a power of attorney, you can give a trust person authority to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs. 

- A living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney)

Writing out your wishes for health care can protect you if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself. 

- A trust

If you hold your property in a living trust, then your survivors won’t have to go through probate court, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

Nobody enjoys estate planning, but it is necessary.  The first step is to make a list of all of your assets and goals before talking to an attorney.  Your assets include investments, retirement accounts, insurance policies, business interests, real estate and more. 

Next decide what you want to achieve with those assets and who should inherit them.  This is also a great time to think about the person that would the best to handle your business affairs should something happen to you. Many people assign this duty to a spouse or an outside financial or legal advisor who can act as a neutral third party. 

Then it is time to meet with a trusted estate lawyer who can prepare all the necessary legal documents and help you think through the best scenarios for all of your assets including protecting you and your heirs from heavy tax fees. 

The most important step is to discuss your plans with your heirs. This is the best way for everyone to understand your goals and intentions so there will be less chance for confusion and arguing when you are gone. 

Finally, don’t forget to have your estate plan updated should there be a change in your financial situation, marital status, addition of children, etc.  Your lawyer will act as your legal partner to make sure all documents needed are also up to date with the latest state and federal laws. 

For more in-depth information about estate planning, contact one of our experienced attorneys.

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Estate Planning is for Everyone

Estate Planning is for Everyone

Do you think that estate planning is only for the extremely wealthy?

Do you think you are not old enough to worry about what happens after you are gone?

Are you comfortable with the court managing the distribution of your assets?

You may not have given it much thought or are avoiding the topic altogether because it seems overwhelming, but - Estate planning is for everyone.

Basically, estate planning is making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. No matter what your net worth, it is important to have a basic estate plan in place.

An estate plan contains:

  • A will

    In a will, you state who you want to inherit your property and name a guardian for your young children should something happen to both parents.
  • Assignment of power of attorney

    With a power of attorney, you can give a trust person authority to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs.
  • A living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney)

    Writing out your wishes for health care can protect you if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
  • A trust

    If you hold your property in a living trust, then your survivors won’t have to go through probate court, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

Discussing your estate plans with your family may also help prevent disputes or confusions. Inheritances can be a loaded issue. By being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you are gone. The best benefit to the process is your peace of mind. Making sure you have a properly prepared plan in place will give you and your family piece of mind.

This is one of the best things you can do for those you love. For more in-depth information about estate planning, contact one of our experienced attorneys. You can also learn more at estateplanning.com.

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Nathan D. Painter founded Painter & Associates to provide legal services he believes every client deserves: access to large-firm experience and talent with a highly personalized approach that keeps each client’s individual legal needs top of mind.


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