Dayton estate planning lawyer Dave Schmidt has over 25 years of experience in probate administration and estate planning. He helps our clients prepare estate plans which address personal goals and which conserve and protect estate assets from unnecessary taxes and costs. If you would like to speak with Dave, contact our Dayton law office .
What is estate planning?
An estate plan is an arrangement for the utilization of one’s assets. Estate planning involves more than the preparation of one’s Will. A well thought-out estate plan concerns itself with the creation of an estate, the distribution of the estate and the preservation and protection of the estate from taxation.
I do not represent “high net worth individuals.” What is “high net worth?” In my practice, “high net worth” is defined as the federal exemption amount. What is the federal exemption amount? It is that amount that Congress has authorized as passing tax free to one’s beneficiaries.
(Remember, however, that under current law, a surviving spouse generally pays no estate tax, regardless of the amount passing to the spouse, assuming the spouse receives virtually all of the deceased spouse’s estate.)
The representation of persons whose net worth exceeds the federal exemption amount is sophisticated estate planning. There are a few local lawyers who specialize in high net worth individuals and married couples. I can help you locate them if you find yourself in such a position.
What constitutes an estate plan?
1. A Will
A legal Will has been defined as a solemn disposition of one’s property, to take effect after death, in which the testator contemplates not only the purposes to which such property shall be devoted, but also the person or persons by whom those purposes shall be executed and carried into effect. See Hall v. Hall , 15 Ohio Decisions 161 (1904).
2. A Durable Power of Attorney (POA)
A durable power of attorney is often a good idea. It is quick, cheap, and effective. A durable general power of attorney authorizes your representative (“attorney in fact”) to conduct your affairs when you cannot. The trick is to appoint someone you can trust. Before there were lawyers, there was trust. Trust goes a long way.
3. A Revocable or Irrevocable Trust
A trust is merely an entity, formed like other entities are formed, such as corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and the like. Trusts are generally non-probate assets and, under current law, pass to beneficiaries outside the probate process.
Unless you have special needs or circumstances, or you are a married couple whose net worth approaches the federal exemption amount, you probably do not need a trust. Ohio provides numerous methods to transfer assets at your death outside the probate process.
4. Health Care Power of Attorney
“The public policy of this state. . .forbids the withdrawal of hydration or nutrition from a comatose patient in a persistent vegetative state with no realistic prospect of recovery, where the withdrawal of nutrition or hydration is likely to result in death of the patient. Such withdrawal is prohibited notwithstanding previous oral statements of the patient himself that he would not desire the use of artificial life support to prolong his existence.” See Couture v. Couture , 48 Ohio App.3d 208, 549 N.E.2d 571 (1989).
Be smart. Put your desires in writing.
If you would like more information, call or e-mail our Dayton, Ohio office .