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If you have not yet started an Ohio estate plan, it may be because you think that estate planning is something that only wealthy people do. Such is not the case. In fact, many middle-income families have discovered too late that the lack of a good estate plan has caused them many problems and heartaches when a loved one died.

FindLaw explains that everyone needs an estate plan, no matter the extent of his or her wealth. The most pressing reason why is that if you die without at least having a will, Ohio law states that you died intestate. What this means is that state law will determine who inherits your assets and in what proportion, regardless of what you may have intended or orally promised.

Estate planning benefits

A good estate plan will provide you and your loved ones with many benefits, including the following:

  • It will allow you to make your medical care and your asset distributions known ahead of time so your loved ones will not need to worry, wonder or even fight about what you would have wanted if you become too ill, injured or otherwise incapacitated to express those wishes yourself or if you pass away.
  • It will allow you to take advantage of tax savings and possibly the necessity of your estate having to go through probate.
  • It will allow you to change and modify your decisions as your needs and those of your loved ones evolve over time.

Estate plan inclusions

While you will, of course, structure your estate plan so as to fit your specific situation, most estate plans include some or all of the following documents:

  • Your Last Will and Testament
  • Your durable medical power of attorney, also called your health care directive
  • Your durable financial power of attorney
  • One or several trusts
  • One or several tuition plans for the benefit of your children

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.