Estate Planning in Ohio

There is more to estate planning than looking out for material assets.  Estate planning in Ohio is also about making arrangements for your most valuable assets, your children.  While many people planning how to dispose of their estates are parents of older children, quite a few have minor children.

Start Making Guardian Plans Early

In Ohio any person who is at least 18 years old can legally make their own will.  This means that there is no reason for young parents to put off estate planning until they are older.  All parents should make legally binding arrangements for the care of their children.

After your child is born you should begin looking for an alternative guardian.  The person you pick should be the person best suited for caring for your young child. They should be able to provide your child with a stable home environment that is similar to the environment that you currently provide.

If your child is older when you begin making arrangements include them in the decision making process.  Ask your school age child who they would prefer to live with if you are not able to care for them.  Let them visit this family member or friend for extended periods of time to see how everyone gets along.

Preparing a Financial Future

Since minor children are not able to manage their own finances it is important that you set up trusts and appoint a trustee for your child.  A trust will be your child’s material inheritance held for them until they reach legal age.  The trustee appointed will manage all financial matters including real estate management until your child is an adult.  Contact an estate planning attorney in Ohio or a CPA to find out how to set up a trust and appoint an experienced trustee.  Remember, the trustee does not have to be the same person who has physical custody of your child.

Make Special Arrangements for Children of Previous Marriages

Since Ohio state law favors spouses when a will is not found or is invalid, always take special care to make arrangements for children of previous marriages.  Even though Ohio will give the spouse a smaller initial award and percentage than some other states this loss of money could still hurt your children.  Establish life insurance policies and name your children as sole beneficiaries and establish a Payable on Death account that will be awarded to your child after your death.

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