Central Ohio Will Preparation AttorneysNothing is certain but death and taxes. A Last Will and Testament helps to plan for both of these. It is not a pleasant thing thinking about your own mortality, but death comes to us all. Having a Will in place not only helps to make sure your assets go where you want them, but it makes things easier on your loved ones after you pass away.
No matter the size of your estate, having a Last Will and Testament will benefit your loved ones. Even if all you own at the time of your death is an automobile, then you may have to open an estate with your local county probate court in order to get the title switched over from the deceased's (called "decedent") name to the beneficiaries name. This can be done without a Will, or there are some forms that can be filled out with the Ohio BMV before death, but a probate estate might need to be opened even just for this simple task. A Last Will and Testament generally makes things such as switching title to a decedent's assets easier, cheaper, and quicker than doing so without a Will. To a certain extent having a Will is not so much about you, but it is about carefully planning for your loved ones after your death.
Whether you have a minimal estate or a substantial estate, a Will is a useful tool that should be discussed with an estate planning attorney.
What Does a Will Do?At a basic level, a Last Will and Testament is a legally binding document that directs what of your stuff goes to whom. Depending on your particular situation, a Will can have even more useful benefits. If you have minor children then you can nominate a guardian for your minor child/ren in the unfortunate event that both parents die before the child/ren reach the age of 18. If you nominate a guardian for your child/ren in a Will, then the guardian will still have to apply to the probate court and get approved for guardianship, but a Will in conjunction with your other estate planning documents are a formalized end of life game plan.
A Will essentially marshals all the assets you had at the time of your death together into what is called your "estate." With a Will you can assign specific assets to certain people, specific monetary amounts to specific people, or generally pass along your entire estate to whoever you want.
There are certain assets that pass to your beneficiaries outside of a Will or the probate process, such as retirement accounts and jointly held assets. Retirement accounts pass to the beneficiary listed for the account. Most jointly held assets, such as joint bank accounts or real property deeded as joint tenants with right of survivorship pass automatically to the living joint owner. However, an estate plan can be structured however you want. For example, some people have all of the estate assets and retirement benefits pour over into a Trust at death. Then the Trust can distribute those assets for the most part however you want.