Establishing an estate plan is one of the most important steps you can take to provide for and protect yourself and your loved ones. Proper estate planning can minimize the expense, delay, and frustration experienced when managing another person’s affairs if that person becomes disabled or passes away.
Most people know about wills and their primary purpose – to ensure that a person’s assets go to the right beneficiaries when that person passes away.
Wills can also help you:
- Outline who will receive specific assets
- Appoint guardians for minor children
- Establish trusts for minors, disabled or incapacitated beneficiaries
- Structure distributions for beneficiaries who are receiving public benefits
While wills can be powerful estate planning tools, they have to be appropriately drafted to suit each individual’s needs.
Trusts are a valuable tool for estate planning. When you set up a trust, you give another person, or group of people, the power to hold property on your behalf. There are three parties involved in a trust: the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. You (the grantor) set up your trust by authorizing another person (the trustee) to manage assets placed within the trust for the benefit of other people (the beneficiaries).
The benefits that a well-drafted trust can include:
- Avoiding Probate (and the time and expense often associated with it)
- Minimizing the cost and time involved in administration upon death
- Structuring distributions for beneficiaries who have financial management issues, health concerns, or marital stability issues
- Ensuring privacy, since most trusts are not filed with the Probate Court and do not become a public record
Types of trusts used in estate planning
There are many types of trusts, each of which serves a different purpose in accomplishing your estate planning goals. These include:
- Revocable, estate planning trusts (often used to avoid Probate)
- Irrevocable, asset protection trusts (often used in nursing home planning)
- Special needs trusts (to help beneficiaries maintain public assistance benefits)
- Life insurance trusts
- Qualified income trusts
Our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you determine which trusts can help you achieve your specific estate planning goals.
Powers of attorney
A power of attorney allows you to designate a person to act as your agent to make financial and health care decisions on your behalf. They are two separate documents, and they serve two very different purposes:
- A financial power of attorney assists with financial and asset decisions.
- A medical power of attorney assists with health care and other medical decisions.
We’ll help you answer the following questions:
- What is the difference between a medical and financial power of attorney?
- Do you need both?
- What is a living will? And, If you have a living will, do you need a medical power of attorney?
- What makes a power of attorney “durable”?
- Can a family member act as your agent under a power of attorney?
- Can your agent make gifts?
- Can your power of attorney be revoked?
Clients who farm or own farm property can often have unique estate planning needs that require special attention and skill to properly plan and protect farms that may have been handed down in a family for generations. The ownership, management, and succession planning for farming operations need to be carefully considered in estate planning.
Planning for how the land and business will continue to the next generation is especially important. Common estate planning issues for clients who farm include how family members will continue the farming operation, how to provide for those family members (or others) who are not involved in the farm operation and how to value farmland for distribution, and structure buy-outs.
We will consider all available options for succession planning for farming clients, including:
- LLCs and corporations
- Family Limited Partnerships
Our experienced attorneys can help you with your farm planning to help preserve your farm legacy.
Dell Burtis Law is here to guide you and your loved ones with Estate Planning, Elder Law, Special Needs Planning, Veterans Benefits, Real Estate, and Business Planning in Tiffin, Ohio, and surrounding areas. We welcome you to contact us to learn more about how we can help meet your Estate Planning needs.