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Estate planning: What are the basic options?

There's one thing all Ohio residents have in common; in fact, all people, everywhere, share a common factor, which is that no one lives forever. That said, you might count yourself among those who don't like to think or talk about that fact. Discussing mortality or the possibility that you could one day become incapacitated might make you feel nervous or stressed.

You are definitely not alone in your struggle. However, rather than avoid estate planning for such reasons, you might want to consider the fact that many people find that going through the process of executing an estate plan gives them peace of mind. They devise a plan and worry less about the what-ifs in life. This post provides a brief review of the most common types of estate planning documents, so that you already have a basic understanding of your options when you're ready to create a plan.

Things every person must do after a divorce

People rarely go through their divorces without feeling tired and depressed. Divorce involves dealing with unsettling emotions and the necessity of filling out several legal documents. Divorce laws in Ohio and across the United States typically require individuals to spend time thinking about how to divide assets that they owned while part of a couple. Obtaining a final decree does not automatically divide properties. A couple must spend time working on a plan or succumb to the court's final decision.

From medical insurance to bank accounts and social security cards, divorce involves changing names and titles. A wife who was formerly included on her husband's medical insurance policy must now find her own health insurance coverage. The husband needs to ask his insurance agent to remove his wife's name from his policy. If a spouse changes his or her name after getting divorced, that person must notify the Social Security Administration and the Department of Motor Vehicles. As a single person, he or she must fill out forms to change his or her name on a Social Security card and a driver's license.

Choosing the right trust for an estate plan

Some estate owners in Ohio might wonder what type of trust would be best for their particular situations. For example, a special needs trust can be created to provide for a loved one who gets government benefits because of a disability or medical condition.

An incentive trust can set certain requirements on distribution. For example, the person may be required to complete an education or reach a certain income level before receiving distributions. Charitable trusts can contribute to charity, but they can also be designed in a way to provide income to a person or beneficiaries as well.

Creating an estate plan with your new child in mind

Bringing a child into your family means that you and your spouse will need to make many decisions. While a significant portion of those choices will likely revolve around the preparations needed to ensure that you can meet your child's immediate needs and that he or she will be comfortable and well-cared for, you will likely also need to look further into the future.

Future preparations do not only pertain to deciding which Ohio university or out-of-state college you want your child to attend. You will also need to consider what needs to happen and what you want to happen in the event that you and your spouse pass away or experience other serious issues.

Problems cryptocurrency cause in divorce cases

Dividing assets can always be problematic in Ohio divorces. However, it may be even more challenging when one or both parties own cryptocurrency. Splitting digital currencies is complicated because it can be difficult to determine how much they are worth at any given time. The value of a digital coin may fluctuate rapidly over short periods of time.

Generally, this type of asset is split based on its value on the day the divorce case is filed. In some cases, the coin's value on the date of withdrawal is used to determine its value in a divorce case. It is also relatively easy to hide or obscure the fact that a person owns this type of asset. For instance, someone could make a purchase directly from another individual and hold it offline. Doing so makes it almost impossible to determine who its true owner is.

Modern tehnology and parenting

As many parents in Ohio know, maintaining a relationship with their kids after a divorce is no easy feat, especially if the divorce itself was contentious. As a result, parents should exert extra effort to bridge the gap and reach out to their kids in any way they can. Thanks to the wonders of social media and texting, parents today have a plethora of resources at their disposal to connect with their children.

When researchers tried to assess what factors mattered the most to maintaining a healthy relationship between parents who chose to get a divorce and their children, they hypothesized that the relationship between the parents themselves mattered. However, as later research indicated, it's the frequency of contact between the parents and the children rather than the relationship between the parents that was important. Obviously, how well divorced parents get along might affect the amount of contact either of them has with the kids, yet modern technology mitigates this factor.

About revocable trusts

Ohio residents who are developing an estate plan should strongly consider including a revocable trust. In addition to allowing an estate to avoid the expense and time of the probate process after the grantor dies, there are several other reasons to create a revocable trust.

Assets that have to go through probate will be made part of the public record. This means that the general public will be able to see to whom the assets of an estate are distributed. Using a trust is a way to keep the transfer of ownership private, which is something that many families prefer.

Divorce guidelines for business owners

When business owners in Ohio decide to divorce, they may face specific considerations related to their businesses. While divorce can have a major financial impact on people in a variety of positions, business owners of closely held private companies can face additional repercussions that can make it difficult or impossible to conduct business in the same way as in the past. As a result, many people may want to plan for how a company will be dealt with in a divorce. While people are often uncomfortable with prenuptial agreements, a private business may make them a necessity.

Many investors or venture capitalists will insist on business owners and partners having prenuptial agreements or postnuptial contracts that address the division of the business in case of divorce. This kind of prenuptial agreement could include a recognition of the business as one partner's separate property. In order for a prenup to be valid, it is important that each spouse is represented by his or her own attorney advocating for their interests. This means that the spouse's contribution to the business after marriage may be recognized as marital property or may be given a specific valuation as a percentage of the business. In addition, the agreement may specify that any distribution is to take place in cash rather than through the division of the company.

What you should know about guardianship of a minor

You may find yourself in a situation in which you want to seek guardianship of a minor child, possibly a family member. This is an appropriate course of action if you want to support and care for a child who is under the age of 18 and cannot, for any reason, live with his or her parents. Seeking guardianship can be a complex process, but it may be the right way to protect the interests of the child and your own interests.

A guardian is someone who would act in the best interests of someone who is not able to make decisions for himself or herself. As the guardian of a minor child, you would be responsible for the care of that child, his or her financial needs, medical care and more. It is not an easy task, and you will have certain obligations you will have to fulfill.

Protecting the emotional well-being of your teen after divorce

Ohio parents who are facing divorce understand this process will have a significant impact on the youngest members of the family. Even teens can suffer mental and emotional stress when their parents decide to go their separate ways. Thankfully, there are ways you can shield them from undue duress and ensure they have a strong future.

Children benefit when allowed to have a strong relationship with both parents after divorce. This is one of the most significant and practical ways to ensure they do not suffer emotionally when you divorce. You can do this by drafting a practical and equitable custody plan that allows them to have access to and a strong relationship with both parents.

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Kroener, Hale & Penick Law Firm
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Batavia, OH 45103

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