Buechner Haffer Meyers & Koenig Co., LPA
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Estate Planning Archives

Communication and your estate plan

If you are in the process of setting up an estate plan, many different concerns may be on the table. For example, you may be having a hard time deciding whether a trust or will is more appropriate, or you could be having difficulty naming an executor or figuring out how to divide your assets among beneficiaries. Often, you can develop a better understanding of the right decisions by talking with loved ones and those affected by your estate plan. Our law firm knows that effective communication is an important part of successful estate planning.

The importance of estate planning

When a resident of Ohio dies, matters of estate planning often need to be dealt with long before the grieving process is underway. As stated by the Summit County Probate Court, bills and taxes will be taken from the estate upon death, and then the rest is dispersed and executed based upon the will. Unfortunately, many people put off their estate planning or updates, leaving loved ones to try to figure out what the person would have wanted posthumously, which can lead to confusion, legal headaches and bitterness between the parties involved.

Creating an estate plan the right way

For many Ohio residents, the thought of creating an estate plan for the time following their death may not be their first priority. However, neglecting the important task of putting financials in order and articulating last wishes can leave family members scrambling and confused after a loved one has died.

Why millennials need to think about estate planning

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that estate planning is only something you need to do when you are getting close to retirement. In fact, according to a recent survey by Caring.com, a whopping 78 percent of people under the age of 36 do not have a will or trust in place.

E-Wills? i Wills? Or the old fashioned way? From Robert Hyland

We do almost all our financial transactions electronically today. We do our banking electronically, we buy our gifts electronically, we make our travel arrangements electronically. We talk with our children or grandchildren 600 miles away electronically. So, why can't we do our wills or our trust documents electronically? Ohio does not allow us to make electronic wills. Whether a trust document can be signed electronically is a good question, with arguments both ways. Our wills, though, must still be done on pieces of paper that we sign. Why is that? Probably because Ohio legislators still want us to be able to prove that a document is ours by our signature at the end of it. There is another reason to require that, but not a legal reason. Our wills are one of the last documents by which we tell those around us what we want to have happen after our deaths. Having us personally sign that makes that document even more personal. You may also consider leaving a separate document in which you tell your children, grandchildren, or other important people how you feel about them and what you hope for them. You may prepare that electronically, and then print out as many of those as you want, signing each one of them. When your will gets left at the Probate Court, those letters to your family stay with your family. Let us know if we can help with either your will or your Letter of Love.

Assets with beneficiary designations by Andrea Costa Laden

Effective estate planning requires revision and adjustment as a person's life, job, and investment portfolio change over time. Periodic monitoring is particularly important for assets with beneficiary designations. These assets, such as life insurance policies, bank accounts, IRAs, employer-sponsored retirement plans, and annuity contracts, can be designed to automatically pass to a beneficiary you specify upon your death pursuant to a "Transfer on Death" or "Payable on Death" designation.

Double step up basis planning by Bob Buechner - OSBA Certified Estate Planning Specialist

Our clients' estates have always benefited from a step up in basis at the time of death. This means that assets included in client estates can receive a basis which is equal to the fair market value at date of death. This can be very beneficial for clients whose assets have appreciated significantly, such as with appreciated securities and real estate investments subject to depreciation.

Is it wise to avoid probate?

For most people the answer is a resounding "yes", though not for the most commonly assumed reason.  Too many times for me to count, I have had clients tell me that they want to avoid probate because by doing so they will avoid estate taxes.  This is not true.  Probate and estate taxes are not linked.

Buechner Haffer Meyers & Koenig Co., LPA

105 East 4th Street
Suite 300
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Phone: 513-579-1500
Fax: 513-977-4361
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