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Wills Can Be An Important Part Of Your Estate Plan

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A will is the most important estate planning tool.

Without a will, your estate may be distributed to relatives through a confusing and sometimes mind-boggling set of rules called Descent and Distribution.

A will does the following for you:

  • Allows you to distribute your estate the manner in which you see fit, subject to statutory rules which restrict excluding your spouse from a will.
  • Allows your executor to serve without obtaining a costly bond.
  • Allows your executor to sell real estate without Court order in most circumstances.

A will does not work on non-probatable assets; thus you can reduce the costs of probating a will by creating non-probatable assets, including:

  • Real estate held jointly and in survivorship with another. It is not enough to have both names on the deed – it must be in survivorship. Transfer on Death Deeds may also avoid probate. If you have questions, please bring your deed when you see us.
  • Other personal property held jointly in survivorship, including bank accounts, stocks, CD’s, etc.
  • Personal property accounts transferable or payable upon death.
  • Accounts with a designated beneficiary, including insurance policies, IRA’s, and some retirement plans.
  • A surviving spouse is entitled to two cars without having to go through probate.

Please note that each of these options may create their own risks, so a consultation is necessary.

What should I bring in for a consultation on a will?

  • Names of children, stepchildren or other beneficiaries.
  • Copies of deeds for your real estate.
  • Copies of bank statements or other financial accounts showing who has the title.
  • If your children are under 18, the name of the person you want to be designated as guardian and as trustee for their inheritance should you predecease them.

A will can be an essential part of your estate plan. Even a simple will requires an experienced attorney to draft. Contact the experienced wills and estate planning lawyers at Smith & Miller, Attorneys at Law to discuss your options.

Contact Our Office

To schedule a consultation with our attorneys contact us online or reach out to us at 440-576-9155 to schedule an appointment. Our Jefferson office is conveniently located right across the street from the Ashtabula County Courthouse.