It's estimated by some sources that most people don't have the barest of estate plans in place. That's despite an even larger majority appreciating that such planning is important. This applies in Ohio and every other state.
Why is this? Perhaps it's denial. Maybe it's because many people don't think they have an estate. Or maybe it's that people lack the benefit of experienced counsel to help understand and choose the right legal tools.
To grasp what instrument might be most appropriate for you, consider where you fall on the general demographic continuum. What follows is not comprehensive but can provide insight on where to begin.
If you are a single adult, 30 or younger, you might not feel you have any assets of value. We offer that is a narrow-minded view. First, you probably do have some things of value, even if that value is only sentimental. Second, you probably have loved ones who would cherish those items if you died. Third, it's unrealistic to think death won't happen. At the very least, a simple will could be beneficial.
Unmarried but cohabiting
Those in this life situation should draft a will. Lacking one, your significant other could be left with nothing from your life together if you die. If you have bought major purchases together, such as a home or car, establishing a joint tenancy with right of survivorship protects the other's rights.
You are a parent or guardian
Once again, at least a will ensures that assets go to your offspring in a manner you choose. It also should identify a legal guardian for the children to avoid one being appointed by the court. An additional tool is a life insurance policy on you. The benefits could mean the difference between a stable life and struggles for survivors.
At this age, it's easy to believe a will might be valuable. The good news is that it's never too late. In addition, various forms of trust might be created to reduce taxes and better provide for loved ones.
Frail or elderly
The most pressing issue at this point might be making sure your own healthcare and financial needs are met - especially if you reach a point where you can't make decisions yourself. If you don't appoint someone to handle such things, a court will.
The most important first step in creating any plan is contacting a skilled and caring attorney.