HILLIARD'S ONLY FIRM LIMITED TO ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE
HILLIARD'S ONLY FIRM LIMITED TO ESTATE PLANNING & PROBATE
Probate avoidance is a common goal for many individuals who wish to ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after their passing. In Ohio, there are several options available to individuals looking to avoid the probate process. Probate can be a lengthy and expensive process that can cause stress and conflict for loved ones. Here's what you need to know about probate avoidance in Ohio.
Firstly, it's important to understand what probate is. Probate is the legal process that takes place after someone dies to distribute their assets and settle any outstanding debts or obligations. The probate process involves filing a petition with the court, appointing an executor or administrator to manage the estate, identifying and valuing assets, paying any outstanding debts, and distributing assets to heirs or beneficiaries.
One way to avoid probate in Ohio is by establishing a living trust. A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets to a trust while you are still alive. You can serve as the trustee of the trust and retain control over the assets during your lifetime. When you pass away, the assets in the trust are distributed to your designated beneficiaries without the need for probate. This can be a useful tool for those with large estates or family dynamics that call for certain restrictions to be put in place.
Another way to avoid probate in Ohio is through joint ownership of property. If you own property jointly with someone else, such as a spouse or child, then the property will automatically pass to the co-owner upon your death without going through probate. However, it's important to note that joint ownership can also have its drawbacks, such as exposing the property to the co-owner's creditors or creating complications in the event of a divorce or dispute.
Payable-on-death (POD) and transfer-on-death (TOD) designations are another way to avoid probate in Ohio. These designations allow you to name a beneficiary to receive assets such as real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, or vehicles upon your death. The designated beneficiary can receive the assets without the need for probate.
Lastly, small estates in Ohio can be settled through a simplified probate process. If the total value of the estate is less than $35,000 and there are no real estate assets involved, the estate can be settled through a simplified probate process known as a release from administration. This process allows the estate's assets to be distributed to the heirs without the need for a full probate proceeding.
In conclusion, there are several ways to avoid probate in Ohio, including establishing a living trust, joint ownership, POD/TOD designations, and simplified probate for small estates. Each option has its pros and cons, and it's important to consult with a qualified attorney to determine the best course of action for your individual situation. With proper planning, you can help ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes without the need for a lengthy and costly probate process.
Medicaid is a federal and state-funded program that provides medical assistance to eligible individuals and families with low incomes. While Medicaid can be a valuable resource for those who qualify, it's important to understand the potential consequences of receiving Medicaid benefits, including Medicaid estate recovery.
Medicaid estate recovery is a process in which the state seeks to recoup the costs of Medicaid benefits (often nursing home expenses) paid out during a person's lifetime by placing a lien on their estate after they pass away. This means that the state may be entitled to a portion of the individual's assets, including their home, bank accounts, and other valuable possessions.
While Medicaid estate recovery is required by federal law, there are steps that can be taken to minimize or even avoid this process.
One way to avoid Medicaid estate recovery is by transferring assets to loved ones before applying for Medicaid. However, this strategy must be done carefully and with the guidance of an experienced attorney to avoid running afoul of Medicaid's strict rules on asset transfers. In some cases, this strategy may also trigger a penalty period during which the individual will be ineligible for Medicaid benefits.
Another way to avoid Medicaid estate recovery is by setting up a trust. A properly structured trust can help shield assets from the reach of Medicaid estate recovery while still allowing the individual to qualify for Medicaid benefits. This strategy is best done with the guidance of an experienced attorney to ensure that the trust is properly established and administered.
It's important to note that some assets may be exempt from Medicaid estate recovery. These include assets that pass directly to a surviving spouse, assets held in joint tenancy, and certain types of trusts.
In addition to the above strategies, there are several steps that can be taken to minimize the impact of Medicaid estate recovery. These include maintaining detailed records of all Medicaid benefits received, consulting with an experienced attorney throughout the Medicaid application process, and ensuring that estate planning documents, such as wills and trusts, are up-to-date and properly drafted.
In conclusion, Medicaid estate recovery is a potential consequence of receiving Medicaid benefits, but there are strategies that can be employed to minimize or even avoid this process. It's important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the complex rules and regulations surrounding Medicaid estate recovery and develop a plan that is tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. By taking proactive steps to plan for Medicaid estate recovery, you can help protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out after you pass away.
Ohio and federal estate taxes are two types of taxes that may apply to the transfer of assets upon an individual's death. In Ohio, the estate tax was repealed effective January 1, 2013, but there are still federal estate taxes that may apply.
Federal Estate Tax
The federal estate tax is a tax on the transfer of an individual's property upon their death. The tax is based on the fair market value of the individual's assets at the time of their death. The federal estate tax applies to estates with a value over a certain threshold, which is currently set at $12.92 million for individuals and $25.84 million for married couples filing jointly. If an estate is valued above the threshold, the estate tax rate is about 40%.
Ohio Estate Tax
Ohio estate tax was repealed in 2013, but it was previously a tax on the transfer of an individual's property upon their death. The tax was based on the value of the estate at the time of death and applied to estates with a value over a certain threshold. The Ohio estate tax threshold varied over the years and was set at $338,333 in 2012.
Ohio Estate Tax Repeal
Ohio estate tax was repealed effective January 1, 2013, which means that individuals who die after that date do not owe Ohio estate tax. However, estates of individuals who died prior to January 1, 2013, may still owe Ohio estate tax if the estate exceeds the threshold that was in place at the time of death.
Impact of Taxes on Estate Planning
Estate taxes can significantly impact an individual's estate planning decisions. For those with estates valued above the threshold, it may be necessary to explore options for reducing or avoiding estate taxes, such as making gifts during their lifetime or establishing a trust.
Estate planning is an important process for individuals to consider, regardless of their wealth or tax situation. Proper estate planning can help ensure that an individual's assets are distributed according to their wishes, minimize tax liabilities, and provide for loved ones after their death.
Working with an experienced attorney or financial advisor can help individuals navigate the complex world of estate taxes and create a comprehensive estate plan that meets their unique needs and goals. With careful planning and management, individuals can ensure that their legacy is preserved and their loved ones are provided for after they are gone.
Pre-planning a funeral is an important step that many people overlook or put off until it's too late. However, taking the time to plan your funeral in advance can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones, and ensure that your final wishes are honored.
Here are some of the key benefits of pre-planning a funeral:
When pre-planning a funeral, it's important to consider all aspects of the service, including the type of service you want, burial or cremation preferences, and any special requests you may have. It's also important to communicate your wishes to your loved ones and make sure that they have access to all necessary documentation, such as a will, trust, or funeral pre-planning contract.
Pre-planning a funeral is an important step that can provide peace of mind for both you and your loved ones. By taking the time to plan your funeral in advance, you can ensure that your final wishes are honored, control costs, and ease the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time.
Caring for a loved one with special needs can be both rewarding and challenging. In addition to providing daily care and support, families must also navigate complex financial and legal issues to ensure that their loved one's needs are met both now and in the future. One effective tool for addressing these challenges is a special needs trust.
A special needs trust is a legal instrument that allows individuals with disabilities to receive financial support without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. In Ohio, special needs trusts are specifically designed to provide for the needs of individuals with disabilities and are an effective way to help provide for their care and support over the long-term.
Here are some of the key reasons why someone may want to set up a special needs trust in Ohio:
In Ohio, special needs trusts can be established by an individual with a disability, a parent or grandparent, or by a court-appointed guardian. The trust can be funded with assets such as cash, stocks, or real estate. Upon the beneficiary's death, any remaining assets may be required to go to the state.
It's important to note that special needs trusts must be properly structured and administered to ensure that they comply with all relevant legal requirements. And, another type of trust may be a better fit even for somebody with special needs. It's advisable to work with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure that the trust is properly established and administered.
In conclusion, special needs trusts can be an effective tool for families who have loved ones with disabilities. By providing a way to preserve government benefits, ensure quality of life, protect assets, and provide peace of mind, special needs trusts can help families plan for the future and ensure that their loved one's needs are met over the long-term.
A wholly discretionary trust is a type of trust that provides significant benefits and flexibility for both grantors and beneficiaries. In Ohio, wholly discretionary trusts are becoming increasingly popular for their ability to protect assets (from the state), provide tax benefits, and offer enhanced control and flexibility.
Here are some of the key benefits of a wholly discretionary trust in Ohio:
In Ohio, wholly discretionary trusts are a powerful tool for protecting assets, reducing tax liabilities, and ensuring that beneficiaries receive the support and care they need over the long-term. However, it's important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that the trust is properly structured and administered, and to ensure that it meets all applicable legal requirements.
In conclusion, wholly discretionary trusts offer significant benefits for both grantors and beneficiaries. By providing asset protection, tax benefits, flexibility and control, privacy, customization, and probate avoidance, wholly discretionary trusts are an effective tool for families looking to protect their assets and provide for their loved ones over the long-term.
Charitable trusts are a type of trust that allow individuals to donate money, property, or other assets to a charitable organization while receiving tax benefits and other financial advantages. In Ohio, there are several types of charitable trusts that offer different benefits and advantages to donors and charitable organizations.
Here are some of the most common types of charitable trusts in Ohio:
In Ohio, charitable trusts are an effective tool for donors looking to make a significant impact on their community or support their favorite charitable organizations. By providing tax benefits, ongoing income, and flexibility in how donations are distributed, charitable trusts are a valuable tool for individuals and families looking to make a difference.
It's important to work with an experienced attorney or financial advisor to determine the best type of charitable trust for your specific needs and goals, as well as to ensure that the trust is properly established and administered to maximize its benefits. With careful planning and management, charitable trusts can provide a lasting legacy of support for charitable organizations and causes that are important to you.
Retirement accounts are a critical component of many individuals' financial plans, as they provide a source of income during retirement. However, the transfer of retirement accounts upon death can be complicated, and without proper planning, beneficiaries may be left with unexpected tax liabilities or missed opportunities for wealth preservation.
There are several different types of retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)'s, 457(b)'s, IRAs, and Roth IRAs. Each type of account or plan has its own rules and regulations regarding withdrawals, contributions, and taxation. When developing an estate plan that involves retirement accounts, it is important to understand the unique features of each type of account and how they will impact your beneficiaries.
One of the key considerations in estate planning for retirement accounts is the designation of beneficiaries. In most cases, retirement accounts allow for the designation of a primary beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary. The primary beneficiary will typically receive the account balance upon the account owner's death, while the contingent beneficiary will receive the balance if the primary beneficiary predeceases the account owner.
It is important to regularly review and update beneficiary designations to ensure that they align with your current wishes and circumstances. For example, if a primary beneficiary passes away, failing to update the beneficiary designation could result in the account balance passing to unintended heirs or being subject to probate.
Another important consideration in estate planning for retirement accounts is the impact of taxes on the account balance. Depending on the type of account and the beneficiary's relationship to the account owner, the account balance may be subject to income tax or estate tax upon transfer. For example, traditional IRA distributions are generally subject to income tax, while Roth IRA distributions are generally tax-free. Additionally, if the beneficiary is a non-spouse, the account may be subject to Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs), which are minimum amounts that must be withdrawn from the account each year.
Estate planning with respect to retirement accounts is an essential aspect of financial planning that should not be overlooked. By carefully considering beneficiary designations, tax implications, and the use of trusts, individuals can ensure that their retirement account assets are transferred to their loved ones in a tax-efficient and financially responsible manner. It is recommended that individuals work with a qualified Ohio estate planning attorney and financial advisor to develop an estate plan that meets their unique needs and goals.