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Probate Attorney

Top Reasons Why You Should Avoid Probate

Whether it was a gathering for a joyous wedding or the passing of a loved one, we’ve all heard about Probate Court at some point or another. We are going to dive into what probate is and why you want to avoid it when it comes to your estate, if you have no plan.

First, what is probate? Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate after their death. You’re probably wondering “OK, but what does that mean?” It means:

The court will determine your assets at the time of your death.

The court will determine the value of those assets.

The court will distribute the assets to those that are entitled to them by law.

Probate court, during the process will also appoint someone to supervise the administration of your estate.

Why would I want to avoid this process? The main reasons to avoid probate are the extensive timeline and astronomical expense that are both required for probate. The minimum amount of time that is required by probate court is 6 months, but in actuality this process takes 14 – 18 months on average. The reason for this extensive timeline is to give creditors a chance to make a claim on your estate, this in turn reduces the inheritance intended for your loved ones.

The probate process is very expensive. The average cost for probate court is between 5 – 10% of the estate’s total value. This means if your estate is valued at $500,000 you can expect an average cost of between $25,000 – $50,000.

The probate court appoints someone that they deem “suitable” to administer your estate, if you have no plan. This means that your wishes will not be heard and your assets, including your personal property and belongings will be distributed by the court to whom is legally entitled.

Lastly, probate court is public record. This means that all of your assets, your heirs, and your debts are available for anyone to see. Privacy is something that should be valued during this sensitive period of bereavement.

This costly and lengthy process can be avoided with a proper estate plan put in place. Your assets should be distributed according to your wishes, not to who is just legally entitled to them. Your heirs should have the ability to access the inheritance you intend on leaving them, and your loved ones deserve the privacy and time it takes to mourn your loss.

If you have not previously considered an estate plan or have questions about how to get started on planning, contact us at Baron Law today. You can go to our website for a free consultation to start planning for the future for yourself and your loved ones.

 Helping You And Your Loved Ones Plan For The Future

 

About the author: Kristy Gross

Kristy is a Legal Assistant at Baron Law LLC kristy@baronlawcleveland.com.

Estate Planning Attorney

I’m An Executor Of An Estate, How Do I Transfer Property To Heirs And Beneficiaries?

Baron Law, LLC answers questions for you on transferring property to heirs and beneficiaries while acting as an executor of an estate. It is wise to always hire/consult an experienced estate planning attorney to help you navigate through the questions you may have.

Estate fiduciaries are charged with many obligations and responsibilities during estate administration, the most visible of which is the transfer of real and personal property to designated parties and legitimate creditors. The transfer of property is what everyone thinks about when talking about probate, who gets what and when. Well, just like everything else regarding estate and probate law, there are rules at follow. As always, a local Cleveland, Ohio probate attorney is in the best position to inform you on applicable rules and considerations, a quick phone call can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.

With regard to estate property, usually the Ohio executor or administrator, sometimes even a beneficiary, must ensure that the proper documentation has been completed in order to transfer the ownership of all property whose interest is passing due the passing of decedent. What documentation is exactly needed, however, depends largely on the type of property passing, the relevant ownership rights within such property, and also whether the property is countable as a probate or non-probate asset.

Real Property

For real property that was owned by the decedent and which passes through probate, the estate fiduciary must file an application for certificate of transfer of real property with the probate court. The required contents, as mandated by Ohio law, for this application are found under Ohio Revised Code § 2113.61(A)(2). Within five days of filing the application for certificate of transfer that is statutorily compliant, the probate court will issue a certificate of transfer to be recorded in the land records where the property is located. This certificate of transfer is the document that actually transfers title for the real property to the relevant beneficiaries denoted in a will.

The procedure for transferring real property from an estate to someone other than a designated beneficiary, for example if real property is sold by an executor, however, is not handled by a certificate of transfer. Real property might be sold during estate administration to resolve outstanding obligations or expenses of decedent, or if the decedent was under contract to selling certain property. In such circumstances, a fiduciary deed would be executed by the estate fiduciary in order to convey the property. When a fiduciary deed is used, the grantor is the fiduciary and is effectively “stepping in the shoes” of the decedent for purposes of the transfer.

Personal Property

The most common personal property an estate fiduciary will handle are bank and investment accounts, especially if the decedent was on Medicaid or other government assistance. Such programs usually have strict income and property thresholds which leaves elder decedents with much smaller estates usually only comprising of an exempted personal residence and small expense account.

Typically, an estate fiduciary will transfer all of the decedent’s bank and brokerage accounts to the name of the estate during the administration. As such, new accounts will be set up under the tax identification number of the estate. In order to transfer a bank or brokerage account from the decedent’s name to the estate, the estate fiduciary usually needs to provide the financial institution which is holding the funds in the name of the decedent with a copy of the death certificate and his letters of authority to act on behalf of the estate. Nowadays, however, most bank and financial institutions have particularized processes for the release of decedent assets to the estate, so it is highly probable a death certificate and letters will not be enough. Because everything is computerized and identity theft has become so prevalent, banks and investment houses want certain forms completed and additional confirmations of the legitimacy of the transfer. An experienced Cleveland probate attorney will know what documents to present and which forms are needed for which financial institution.

Once the accounts are transferred into the name of the estate, the estate fiduciary has more control over the accounts. Before closing the estate, the estate fiduciary can transfer the account assets to the appropriate beneficiaries or liquidate as needed to sustain the costs of estate administration or pay critical obligations. The transfer is usually accomplished by directing the appropriate financial institutions to distribute the assets in kind or cash as the case may be. Again, the paperwork that is required to do this specific and a guiding hand by an Ohio probate attorney will avoid costly mistakes.

Some property, however, passes by operation of law, usually via beneficiary designation. The most common types of property are:

Concurrently owned property with rights of survivorship -This type of concurrently owned property will pass automatically to the surviving owner without regard to the terms of decedent’s will or Ohio intestacy statues, if applicable.

Life Insurance Policies – The terms of a life insurance contract usually allow the policy owner to direct by beneficiary designation where the proceeds of the policy go upon the insured’s death. As such, the proceeds pass automatically without the involvement of a probate court.

Retirement Accounts – Various employee or individual retirement accounts allow the designation of beneficiaries upon death of the owner. Same as with life insurance, cash in these accounts pass automatically without the involvement of a probate court.

Property held under Revocable Trust – Any property held under this type of trust at the time of decedent’s death will usually pass according to the terms of the trust agreement rather than be part of the decedent’s probate estate.

The acquisition, management, and distribution of estate assets is one of the most time-consuming and emotionally draining duties of an estate fiduciary. Aggressive estate claimants, pushy heirs and beneficiaries, and stubborn financial institutions make getting things where they need to go much more difficult than it otherwise should be. An experienced Ohio attorney can act as a buffer between you and those parties who would otherwise making administrating an estate much more difficult.

You don’t have to be rich to protect what you’ve spent a lifetime trying to build. To find out whether a trust is right for your family, take the one-minute questionnaire at www.DoIneedaTrust.com. There are a number of different trusts available and the choices are infinite. With every scenario, careful consideration of every trust planning strategy should be considered for the maximum asset protection and tax savings. For more information, you can contact Mike Benjamin of Baron Law LLC at 216-573-3723. Baron Law LLC is a Cleveland, Ohio area law firm focusing on estate planning and elder law. Mike can also be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com.

Helping You And Your Loved Ones Plan For The Future

About the author: Mike E. Benjamin, Esq.

Mike is a contracted attorney at Baron Law LLC who specializes in civil litigation, estate planning, and probate law. He is a member of the Westshore Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association for the Northern District of Ohio. He can be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com.

Disclaimer:

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation

Baron Law Cleveland Ohio

My Trustee Isn’t Very Good At Their Job, Can I Get Rid Of Them?

Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can.  For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor to keep more of your assets for your heirs and not hand them over to the government by way of taxes.

Trusts are common estate planning tool. They are used to plan for retirement, provide for needed elder case, ensure Medicaid and other government aid eligibility, and provide for special needs children. A critical part of any trust is its trustee. The trustee is the primary agent responsible for managing trust assets and money and ensuring that the instructions and intent of the settlor are followed. At the end of day, if everything goes as planned, a trust will continue to exist and operate long after its settlor has passed. As such, the trustee is often solely responsible for the health of the trust and the welfare of trust beneficiaries.

With great power, comes great responsibility. Such is the case with trustees. In the same vein, however, most crime comes from opportunity. If there is nothing to steal, there is no chance of theft. The opposite also holds true. If you were left in an empty room with $300,000 dollars and no one was watching, how honest would you be? How honest could the ordinary man be? As such, tragically, too many trustees are found out too late to be lazy or untrustworthy and they must be removed and replaced. As with most things regarding trusts, Ohio law has set down rules and procedures to follow if you want to replace a trustee. Naturally, as with any legal question, always consult with an experienced Ohio estate planning attorney before you do anything.

Removal of a Trustee

Removal of a trustee requires serious consideration and appreciation for its consequences. Not only is it nuanced process requiring the learned help of an experienced Cleveland estate attorney, but it can also run counter to the express wishes and intent of the trust settlor. If the settlor is alive, and the trust revocable, replacing a trustee isn’t too big of a deal. But if the settlor is dead, and the trust irrevocable, now decisions have to be made that may subtract from the settlor’s goals.

A first trustee was an individual who the settlor had the utmost faith to carry out their wishes and guard their property. To go and replace them with another will affect how trust property is managed, how and when trust property is distributed, how much the trustee will demand as compensation, and the relationship between the trustee and beneficiaries. Since the power to replace a trustee shouldn’t be taken lightly, Ohio law placed rules and procedures on how and when it can be undertaken.

To start, the power to remove a trustee is primarily codified in O.R.C. § 5807.06(A). Wherein a “settlor, a cotrustee, or a beneficiary may request the court to remove a trustee, or the court may remove a trustee on its own initiative.” This by itself doesn’t say much, but evidently pretty much anyone with a legitimate interest in the trust may act to replace a trustee. The ability to do something, however, should always be paired with a valid reason why. This is where experienced Ohio estate planning counsel comes in handy. An attorney is in the best position when a trustee is just being difficult rather than derelict in their duties.

Why Remove a Trustee

Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Generally, replacing a trustee should only occur in a handful of circumstances, most of which are codified in Ohio law. Per

O.R.C. § 5807.06(B), a court may remove a trustee for any of the following reasons:

The trustee has committed a serious breach of trust;

Lack of cooperation among cotrustees substantially impairs the administration of the trust;

Because of unfitness, unwillingness, or persistent failure of the trustee to administer the trust effectively, the court determines that removal of the trustee best serves the interests of the beneficiaries.

All these reasons go to a trustee’s inability to carry out their duties effectively or downright committing crimes as a trustee. A surly or unpleasant trustee is not grounds for removal, regardless of how much you dislike them. Only in extreme circumstances of incompetence, dereliction, or illegality should an action for trustee removal be undertaken. Your estate planning attorney is in the best position to judge when and if this threshold has been reached.

Importance of Successor Trustees

So, you’ve successfully removed an unsuitable trustee, now what? Naturally, a new trustee must be appointed and, of course, Ohio law provides for this possibility. Per O.R.C. § 5807.04 (C), if there is a vacancy in the trustee position, new trustee is selected using the following order of priority:

(1) By a person designated in the terms of the trust to act as successor trustee;

(2) By a person appointed by someone designated in the terms of the trust to appoint a successor trustee;

(3) By a person appointed by unanimous agreement of the qualified beneficiaries;

(4) By a person appointed by the court.

This is why selecting appropriate successor trustees, or drafting adequate methods to select them, are so important, though it is often seen as a throwaway detail when drafting a trust. At the very end of this list, a probate court has the authority to appoint a new trustee if no other methods exist. This is not an appetizing prospect for most settlors. The last thing settlors want is a court taking control out of their hands and appointing someone they don’t want or don’t know. The whole point of going through the long process of trust creation is a guarantee control of money and assets in specific and delineated ways. To have everything go right out the window because of improper successor trustee appointments is foolish. As such, proper thought and planning must go into your trustee and successor trustee appointments.

Most people don’t expect their first, or even second choices, for trustee to die, refuse appointment, or just not be very good at the job. An experienced Ohio estate planning attorney can help with the vetting process and also provide much needed instruction and guidance to selected trustees to make sure they understand the gravity of the position and possess the knowledge to do the job correctly and efficiently.

Helping You And Your Loved Ones Plan For The Future

About the author: Mike E. Benjamin, Esq.

Mike is a contracted attorney at Baron Law LLC who specializes in civil litigation, estate planning, and probate law. He is a member of the Westshore Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association for the Northern District of Ohio. He can be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com.

Disclaimer:

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

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A Trustee Isn’t Paying Me, What Can I Do?

Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can.  For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor to keep more of your assets […]

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How Do I Force A Trustee To Tell Me What’s In A Trust?

Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can.  For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor to keep more of your assets for your heirs and not hand them over to the government by way of taxes.

Trusts are one of the most useful tools in the estate planning tool box. Special needs trusts ensure vulnerable children and beneficiaries can receive bequests or inheritances without being knocked off of critical state and federal benefits while a simple family trust can guarantee income and assets placed within it last for generations and are, for the most part, protected from creditors and litigants. The lynchpin of any trust, however, besides the trust documents themselves, is the trustee. The agent in charge of managing trust assets and carrying out trust instructions.

A lot of faith and trust are placed within trustees. Unfortunately, not all trustees are up to the task and some even use their position for ill gain. Some trustees are lazy, some are disinterested. Other trustees are combative, others are downright criminals. Trustees come in all types. The process for removing a trustee, seeking civil or criminal action against a trustee, or simply finding out what a trustee knows all start at the same spot. A trust beneficiary, or other interested party, must force a trustee to tell them what they know and Ohio law has provided a process to do just that. The process is called a petition to compel an accounting or sometimes a citation to a fiduciary to file an account.

This process, naturally, is often the route of last resort when something has gone horribly wrong with a trustee or fiduciary. For example, failure of an executor to file a notice of admission for will to probate, or a failure render an account of an executor’s or administrator’s estate administration, or failure to file the first estate accounting within the 3-month time limit without good cause shown. Basically, citations to compel accounting are used when those entrusted to look after the money don’t follow the rules or tell anybody what they are doing. Again, getting a probate court involved with a difficult or non-responsive fiduciary should always be a last resort. As such, always consult an experienced Cleveland estate planning attorney to find out your best course of action in the circumstances.

How do I compel a trustee accounting?

Generally, to get a court to do anything, there has to be statutory language on the books that give you the authority/right to do something. Ohio law provides that particular qualified people can petition the court to force a fiduciary or trustee to appear and tell what they know and bring evidence to back it up.

“If a fiduciary neglects or refuses to file an account, inventory, certificate of notice of probate of will, or report when due,… the court at its own instance may issue, and on the application of any interested party or of any of the next of kin of any ward shall issue, a citation … to such fiduciary …. to compel the filing of the overdue account, inventory, certificate of notice of probate of will, or report.” O.R.C. § 2109.31(A).

What does a citation for accounting contain?

The citation or motion to compel is a legal document filed with a particular probate court that asks the court to use its authority to force a fiduciary or trustee to appear at a certain time in a certain place or face the consequences. Ohio law specifies that such a request must be a proper form so the court knows exactly what you’re asking the court to do and so the trustee or fiduciary knows exacts what to do to satisfy the court’s request and avoid any adverse consequences. So, what information does your request actually need to contain. Per O.R.C. § 2109.31(B):

(1) A statement that the particular account, inventory, certificate of notice of probate of will, or report is overdue;

(2) An order to the fiduciary to file the account, inventory, certificate of notice of probate of will, or report, or otherwise to appear before the court on a specified date;

(3) A statement that, upon the issuance of the citation, a continuance to file the account, inventory, certificate of notice of probate of will, or report may be obtained from the court only on or after the date specified…

A motion to compel accounting is a particular legal document that should be prepared by a licensed attorney. Nonconformity with the state and local rules of form and filing can waste a lot of time and money and frustrate a judge and their support staff, not ideal when your asking for the court’s help. Hiring a knowledgeable Ohio estate planning attorney will ensure your filing is accepted and in proper order.

What if a trustee doesn’t appear?

If a citation to compel accounting is issue from a probate and a fiduciary or trustee fails to file the requested documents or personally report prior to the appearance date specified in the citation, a probate court may resort to one or more of the following:

The removal of the fiduciary or trustee;

A denial of all or part of the fiduciary fees;

A continuance of the time for filing the requested documents;

An assessment against the fiduciary of a penalty of one hundred dollars and costs of twenty-five dollars for the hearing, or a suspension of all or part of the penalty and costs; or

That the fiduciary is in contempt of the court for the failure to comply with the citation and that a specified daily fine, imprisonment, or daily fine and imprisonment may be imposed against the fiduciary, beginning with the appearance date, until the account, inventory, certificate of notice of probate of will, or report is filed with the court;

Furthermore, if a fiduciary or trustee fails to appear in court on the specified date on the citation, a probate court can even go as far as ordering them to be taken into custody by a sheriff and forcibly brought to court.

The potential consequences facing non-compliant fiduciaries are severe, however, utilizing the court should only be used in extreme circumstances or as a last resort. As such, consult experienced Cleveland estate planning attorney before doing anything so serious. Doing so will ensure that the process is done correctly and expediently.

Helping You And Your Loved Ones Plan For The Future

About the author: Mike E. Benjamin, Esq.

Mike is a contracted attorney at Baron Law LLC who specializes in civil litigation, estate planning, and probate law. He is a member of the Westshore Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association for the Northern District of Ohio. He can be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com.

Disclaimer:

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation.


Baron Law Elder Care Attorney

Trustees – Part II: Duty To Keep Adequate Records

Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can.   For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor to keep more of your assets […]

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Dying Without A Will – A Mess for Your Family To Clean-up

Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can. For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor to keep more of your assets for your heirs and not hand them over to the government by way of taxes.

No one likes it think about death, and even less people actively prepare for its inevitable occurrence. With everything that makes up life, job, family, recreation, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what we need to do or want to do, let alone do what we despise. Thinking about death and how life will continue on regardless of whether we are here or not isn’t a fun concept people like to dwell on. Estate planning, or lack thereof, has tremendous consequences for surviving friends and family. A proper estate plan can mean the kids get to go college and the surviving spouse gets to stay in the house and doesn’t have to get a second job. No estate plan means the martial home gets sold to pay off debts and necessities or the surviving kids blow through an investment portfolio shrewdly managed for 25 years in 6 months. A local Cleveland estate planning attorney can create a customized estate plan with supporting documents to ensure that your friends and family are in the best position when your gone and avoid familial infighting and asset waste.  

Apart from the absolute chaos and/or squandering of a lifetime of assets which may result from a lack of estate planning, what are the practical consequences of not having a will?  When a decedent does not have a valid will in existence at the time of death, a decedent is deemed to have died intestate and Ohio intestacy laws govern how estate assets are managed and distributed. Ohio intestacy laws may be avoided altogether with proper estate planning. It is important, however, to be familiar with these laws because they may apply for a variety of reasons in a variety of situations. Sometimes intestacy laws will control even if a valid will is subject to probate administration. Conversely, sometimes Ohio intestacy laws may not apply even if a decedent died intestate. As such, since the controlling law for dying without a will can be flexible, an estate planning and/or probate lawyer is highly recommended.  

One example where intestacy laws are inapplicable even if decedent died without a valid will is where the estate assets in question would not have been part of the decedent’s probate estate if the decedent had a will. An example of this situation is property that is owned jointly with right of survivorship. This type of ownership will pass to the surviving joint owner by operation of law irrespective to the terms of the decedent’s will or intestacy statutes. The same is true for bank accounts or other assets with valid payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designations. Property that the decedent transferred to a trust during life will not typically become part of the decedent’s probate or intestate estate.   

The most common situation where intestate law applies is when a will is declared invalid by a probate court because it was not executed in accordance with the requirements under Ohio law. The same holds true if a will is set aside for other reasons, such as fraud in the execution. Further, even if a decedent’s will is found valid and is not set aside, there can be many circumstances where intestacy laws still apply. One such circumstance is that a will fails to dispose of all of the decedent’s property because it does not have a residuary clause. This outsight is becoming more common with the use of services like Rocket Lawyer and LegalZoom. Ensuring that estate planning documents are properly executed, drafted, and filed is a major reason why estate planning attorneys are employed and retained. Doing it yourself may be cheaper in the short-term, but when it counts the most, self-drafted estate document all too often fail to make the grade.  

So, apart from not knowing whether intestacy laws will apply or not, what’s the big deal dying intestate?  

In a nutshell, dying intestate can have serious consequences for surviving friends and family and, most importantly, can affect the amount of  estate money and assets available, who those assets go to, and when those assets are distributed. First off, dying intestate means a decedent has very little, if any, direct control over who gets what and when. That is decided per the laws of intestacy. So, if you have two children, one is rich and doesn’t need any more money and the other has addiction issues and can’t be trusted, but you have a niece who just got accepted to Harvard but can’t afford it, too bad, you can’t help out your niece if you die intestate. Further, dying intestate means the court has to administrate the estate, which takse a lot longer than direct bequests in a will. Instead of potentially almost instantaneous transfer of money and assets, you likely have to wait at least six months to distribute estate assets. During this time, surviving friends and family are angry they haven’t gotten their share, the legal fees are running for the attorney, the fees are running for the estate administrator, and you’re paying taxes and upkeep on any estate assets that require such.  

Furthermore, subjecting an estate to intestate administration means creditors and litigants have almost free reign to bring claims against intestate assets. If an estate is properly planned and organized, there are ways to protect most if not all of an estate’s assets from these outside threats. As previously mentioned before, an intestate estate requires an administrator. This person is appointed by the probate court, it may be a family member, it may not be. Hopefully, they will be competent, responsible, and honest, but if an estate fiduciary isn’t proactively appointed, who know who’ll be appointed. Ohio law subjects estate fiduciaries to steep penalties for incompetence and misconduct, there is a reason for this. History is rife with examples of fiduciaries wasting or absconding with estate assets. After you’ve spent a lifetime working, saving, and building, why put it all in the hands of a strange or irresponsible or inexperienced family member. This is why Ohio estate attorneys exist, to help you protect a lifetime of labor and give to the people you love.  

Choosing to die intestate certainly is one way to do it but it is hardly the best way. Spending a little time to sit down with a probate attorney or estate planner will ensure that you’re proactively thinking about the future and putting your friends and family in the best possible situations and avoiding needless stress, confusion, and time waste. A last will and testament is the “core” of any estate plan. If you don’t have anything else, you must have a will. Simply put, its foolish not to even take this basic step.  

You don’t have to be rich to protect what you’ve spent a lifetime trying to build. To find out whether a trust is right for your family, take the one-minute questionnaire at www.DoIneedaTrust.com. There are a number of different trusts available and the choices are infinite. With every scenario, careful consideration of every trust planning strategy should be considered for the maximum asset protection and tax savings. For more information, you can contact Mike Benjamin of Baron Law LLC at 216-573-3723. Baron Law LLC is a Cleveland, Ohio area law firm focusing on estate planning and elder law. Mike can also be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com 

 Helping You And Your Loved Ones Plan For The Future

About the author: Mike E. Benjamin, Esq.  

Mike is a contracted attorney at Baron Law LLC who specializes in civil litigation, estate planning, and probate law. He is a member of the Westshore Bar Association, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association for the Northern District of Ohio. He can be reached at mike@baronlawcleveland.com.   

Disclaimer:

The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The author nor Baron Law LLC cannot and does not guarantee that such information is accurate, complete, or timely. Laws of a particular state or laws that may be applicable in a given situation may impact the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of the preceding information. Further, federal and state laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Changes in such laws often have material impact on estate planning and tax forecasts. As such, the author and Baron Law LLC make no warranties regarding the herein information or any results arising from its use. Furthermore, the author and Baron Law LLC disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or any financial position taken in reliance on, such information. As always consult an attorney regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

 

Baron Law Cleveland Ohio

What If My Trustee Is Concealing Trust Assets?

Cleveland, Ohio, estate planning law firm, Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can.   For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor […]

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What is Probate?

Cleveland, Ohio, estate planning law firm, Baron Law LLC, Cleveland, Ohio, offers information for you to reflect upon while you are setting out looking for an estate planning attorney to help protect as much of your assets as you can.   For more comprehensive information contact Baron Law Cleveland to draft your comprehensive estate plan to endeavor […]