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Cincinnati Legal Blog

What makes a will valid in Ohio?

Whether you have recently relocated to Ohio or you have lived in the Buckeye State all your life, it is not likely that you have researched the estate planning laws in this state. In fact, the number of people who adequately prepare their estates before their deaths is quite low. When someone dies intestate, which means without a will, his or her loved ones often have a challenging time during probate.

You may want to protect your family from this frustration by drafting your last will and testament. Naturally, you would like to do this in the most cost-effective and personal manner possible, so you may have planned to sit at your laptop this weekend or relax with a legal pad while you consider how to divide your estate. However, taking these actions may create just as much chaos for your loved ones during probate.

How to include online accounts in an estate plan

People in Ohio thinking about the future may want to do their best to ensure that their loved ones are cared for after they are gone. To that end, they may make out a will and develop an estate plan. While people often think about real estate, bank accounts and other tangible or financial items when planning for the future, they may pay less attention to digital assets like email accounts, social media profiles, online subscriptions or even cryptocurrency wallets. People are spending more time and money online than ever before, but making an estate plan for these digital assets is often overlooked.

While a growing number of states are attempting to address confusion by adopting uniform laws for the default handling of the digital assets of people who pass away, many people want to make their own plans for the future. They can include their digital assets in their wills, trusts and powers of attorney in order to do so. The process of developing a digital estate plan begins with gathering an inventory of a person's digital existence, including various online accounts as well as key files and hardware like computers, smartphones or tablets.

How divorce impacts a child's education

A study published in Sociological Science found that divorce could have a significant impact on a white child's education. Specifically, it found that the loss of household income that generally occurs after a couple splits makes it less likely that their children will go to college. However, the same study found that the impact wasn't as great on minority children in Ohio and elsewhere. This is because minority families may not have the same level of wealth prior to divorce taking place.

Research has discovered that a lack of economic stability may play a role in a couple getting divorced. This can be especially true if the husband is not the primary breadwinner in the household. Of course, the study did note that the fact that a man has a stable job is more important than how much he actually makes.

Gray divorce: You have a future to protect

Divorce can happen at any stage of life. Older couples, even those who have been married for years, sometimes go through what many call gray divorce. When a couple with one or two partners aged 50 and up decides to move forward with divorce, there are unique financial factors to consider.

If you are facing a gray divorce, your future is at stake. With fewer years before retirement and potentially valuable assets up for division, you would be wise to be thoughtful and careful as you make choices that could affect your future. Emotions should never be the catalyst for your decisions, but rather, you would be wise to keep your focus on what is truly important – your long-term interests.

Debunking estate planning myths

Many people have misconceptions about estate planning, but an argument can be made that estate planning is part of a comprehensive financial plan. Ohio residents might like to know about some of the myths that often make things complicated when it comes to estate planning.

Estate planning often includes issues that anyone might need to consider. As such, it is just a myth that only those with a high net worth need an estate plan. Anyone with assets or property may need an estate plan along with those who provide for others. Some common uses for estate plans include naming guardians for minor children, documenting preferred end of life care, listing funeral preferences and passing property to heirs.

How divorce damages a credit score

There are many things Ohio residents need to think about during a divorce, including their credit scores. Fortunately, divorce alone does not hurt a credit score. Credit reports are not influenced by one's marital status. However, there are two common reasons a divorce might lead to a lower credit score.

After a divorce, joint credit accounts can still appear on credit reports. This applies even if a former partner has responsibility for paying off the debt. If an ex makes late payments, these payments apply to each person's credit report. Additionally, both parties are responsible for charges made from a joint account even after a divorce occurs.

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.

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Kroener Hale Law Firm
101 N. Riverside Dr.
Batavia, OH 45103

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