Columbus and Delaware Ohio Will and Estate Planning AttorneysIf you are questioning whether you need an estate plan, what an estate plan is, or whether you only need certain estate planning documents, then you should call an attorney at Harris & Engler to ask your estate planning questions. An estate plan can consist of one or a number of documents, including a Will, trust, power of attorney, health care power of attorney, and living will. Not everybody needs every document in an estate plan, but everybody could benefit from at least one or more estate planning documents.
Just about everyone could benefit from a Living Will or a Power of Attorney. A Living Will is a document where you basically decide for yourself in advance whether you would want the doctors to "pull the plug" if you are in a coma or terminally ill condition. A Health Care Power of Attorney is similar, but it is where you give a close loved one a "Power of Attorney" to make your health care decisions for you when you are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself. A regular or Durable Power of Attorney is used for those scenarios in life to where you have lost the physical or mental capacity to manage your own affairs, so you grant a trusted loved one the "Power of Attorney" to manage your financial affairs (like use your bank account to pay your bills) if something happens to you to where you can't do it yourself.
Do I Need a Will?Many people think that they may not have much of an "estate" so they may not need a Will. This is not necesssarily true. A Will is a useful tool for all sizes of estates.
If you own a car, then a Will will make things easier on your loved ones than if you die without a Will. Sometimes even if you do not have much of an estate, by having a Will then you make things cheaper and easier on your loved ones for when you pass away.
The default rules in Ohio for what happens to your stuff when you die is called "intestate succession." Through intestate succession, when you die your stuff goes to the people who you would probably want your stuff to go to anyways if you die with a family, or married, or with children. But if you die without a Will, then it is more expensive and time consuming for those loved ones to take ownership of your estate property after you pass. First, an executor would have to be appointed to manage your estate. Then, your executor would have to post a bond with the local probate court in an amount exceeding the value of your estate. That can be costly. If you have a Will, then you can name your own executor and the Will can waive the bond requirement and do other things to make it easier on your beneficiaries.
If you're married or have children, then having a Will and possibly a Trust in place for your children is the responsible thing to do. If you have a few things to pass along to your beneficiaries, then you certainly want a Will in place to ensure a smooth transition and to make sure that things go where you want them to go when you pass.
Should I Just Buy An Online Will?There are companies that sell Will templates online. These Wills can be purchased for relatively cheap. It may be worth it for you to at least reach out to an attorney at Harris & Engler to discuss pricing, because an attorney drafted simple Will is really not that much more than you would pay for a stock template Will online. With an attorney, you can make sure that you understand the Will, you have somoene to ask all of your questions, the Will accurately reflects your desires, and importantly, that it is signed and executed in accordance with Ohio law. When you have a local law firm take care of your estate planning needs, then you also have attorneys that you trust who can help your beneficiaries after you pass away and who will make sure your estate is managed as you wish.
If you have any plans for anything other than a simple Will, then that is just not something to where an online Will template will accomplosh your objectives. The more complicated your estate, the more you need a skilled Will draftsman.
It is certainly not an enjoyable topic thinking and planning for the end of one's life. However, Wills and estate planning documents are made for your loved ones, and making things as easy on your loved ones as possible when you pass. It is through responsible pre-planning that your loved ones will have another reason to appreciate you after you pass.