Most people considering estate planning desire to make their passing as simple as possible for their loved ones and to ensure that their loved ones are properly cared for after they pass. Dealing with your death is a difficult situation, so easing their stress by creating a well-considered estate plan may help. A lot of times this means ‘avoiding probate’ – but not always.
The Probate process is the manner directed by Ohio law to utilize a Will to administer the assets and obligations of a deceased person that aren’t otherwise designated. Ohio law has default provisions if there is no Will, but having a Will aids in streamlining the probate process, if probate is required. Probate is not necessarily ‘bad’ but in some situations it may result in the expenditure of time and money that could have been avoided.
How can I avoid probate?
There are various ways to avoid the probate process. You might consider the use of a trust, utilize transfer-on-death or payable-on-death designations, or naming beneficiaries. Most of the time there is no Court involvement and minimal need to utilize the legal profession. These non-probate transfer methods are appealing, especially when there is family unity. Preparing your assets to avoid probate, however, requires diligence by the owner of the assets to make sure that the beneficiary information is up-to-date and reflect your family’s needs and circumstances.
When might I consider using probate?
But creating and utilizing a Will can also be a wise estate plan. If there is conflict within a family, relying upon a Will may be beneficial as it provides Court oversight, has a short time-period within which a person desiring to contest the plan must act, and has a statutory framework that directs administration
Can I do both?
Many times it makes a lot of sense to utilize both non-probate transfer methods AND a Will as a part of a thoughtful estate plan.
A purpose of estate planning is to efficiently provide for your family after your death given your particular circumstances. Talking with an experienced attorney of how best to do this may prove beneficial.