How to Prepare for Your Meeting With an Ohio Estate Planning Lawyer

Post by: Eric Jones | Posted Date: May 2nd, 2018 | Categories: Columbus Estate Planning Attorney

As Columbus-based estate planning attorneys, we look forward to helping people all across Ohio take care of their families by making plans for how to handle their property and finances once the inevitable occurs. We also know that preparing properly can greatly ease the estate planning process.

Here are five things everyone should do before they meet with a lawyer to do estate planning.


Expect to Not Want to Have the Discussion

No one likes thinking about his or her own death, let alone how their spouse, children, and siblings will feel once they are gone. One way to overcome this natural reluctance is to focus on how much more difficult family members will have it if there is no plan for how to move forward.

Writing a will or creating a revocable trust is very much an act of love and respect for those we leave behind. The document makes the wishes of the deceased clear, which goes a long way to preventing disagreements over who should receive what. The very act of planning also compels the person making the will or setting up the trust to make tough decisions about the disposition of money, property, and family heirlooms.


Gather and Organize All Financial Records

A will or trust exists primarily to clarify what happens to a person’s belongings once they can no longer use it. Making sure that all one’s things are accounted for after death requires accounting for all of it while one is still alive.

A short list of documents to bring to the meeting with an estate planning attorney in Columbus includes:

  • Deeds
  • Mortgages
  • Bank statements
  • Loan documents
  • Credit card statements
  • Business balance sheets
  • Investment account statements
  • Retirement plan and pension statements
  • Life insurance policies
  • Insurance policies on and assessments of valuable belongings like art and jewelry

It is especially important to understand that family members inherit tax liabilities and debts along with money and property. Sitting down with a Columbus estate planning lawyer while having as much financial information to hand as possible will make it easier to put together an estate plan that minimizes the burdens of inheritance.


Decide Whether You Want to Leave a Will or Create a Revocable Trust

Both wills and trusts allow a person to name an estate executor or administrator, designate inheritors, name charities to receive money or property, and set instructions for a funeral and memorial service. Generally, a will includes more details than a trust. Also, a person can leave a will and a trust that cover different things.

The biggest difference between the two estate planning tools is that a will goes through probate court. That process mostly involves having a judge recognize the executor and filing paperwork with the court to show that the terms of the will are being carried out properly.


Have a Plan for Your Plan

Before walking into the estate planning lawyer’s office, take some time to decide who gets what. The attorney can help craft language, prepare a document that will stand up to legal challenges, and calculate the tax implications of various choices. The person making the will or setting up the trust has the responsibility for specifying terms and naming beneficiaries and inheritors.


Recognize That Plans Change

A good estate plan is one that is prepared relatively early in life, perhaps after getting married, having a child, or starting a business. The plan should then change to reflect the changes—positive and negative—everyone experiences as they age. Amending a will or trust is much simpler than creating one, so it is worth doing the tough work up front.

You can schedule an appointment with a Columbus, Ohio, estate planning lawyer by calling the Jones Law Group at (614) 545-9998 or filling out this online contact form.

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