Smith & Miller, Attorneys at Law

Helping Our Clients Navigate Life’s Legal Storms

During the COVID 19 pandemic, we are up and running and working hard to help you navigate legal issues through difficult times. To protect your safety and health, we are offering our clients the option to meet with us personally, or via phone or Zoom.

call today 440-576-9155


Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Trumbull Counties Wills and Estate Planning Attorneys

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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 title.
  • If your children are under 18, the name of the person you want 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 and Miller to discuss your options.

Contact Our Office

To schedule a consultation with our attorneys, Ashtabula County residents please call 440-576-9155, residents outside of Ashtabula County please call 866-373-0497 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Our Jefferson office is conveniently located right across the street from the Ashtabula County Courthouse.