As estate planning lawyers, whenever someone asks us “do I need a will?”, our answer is almost always “yes.” In fact, in our experience by the time someone asks us the question, starting an estate plan is long overdue. In this blog post, we review some of the major life events that often prompt clients to come to us at Dworken & Bernstein for estate planning help, and the estate planning considerations those events often raise.
6 Life Events & the Considerations They Raise
The first time most Ohioans give anything more than a passing thought to writing a will is when they get married.
A marriage often represents a sea change not only in a person’s domestic living situation but also in how two people prioritize each other and their extended families in their decision-making.
Taking the time to write a will and a living will don’t just focus young married couples on issues of mortality they often have not talked about, it also prompts discussions about financial goals and expectations – a first step toward planning responsibly for the future.
This is the point when wills, and often trusts, become a necessity.
If one’s marriage doesn’t prompt a couple to seek estate planning advice, having a child usually does.
Like marriage, childbirth prompts yet another massive reprioritization of clients’ lives. An estate planning attorney can help new parents think through child custody in the event of a tragic accident affecting both of them, and to establish trusts for the benefit of the child.
These trusts create a safe place for the child’s inheritance, including life insurance. A trustee is appointed to take care of the money, real estate, and other assets attached to the trust.
The death of a parent or other event that triggers an inheritance often brings clients into our office.
There are significant estate planning issues that accompany a sudden, and often, an unexpected influx of assets into a person’s life.
At Dworken & Bernstein we frequently advise clients on the tax implications of inheritances and on how to hold inherited assets to ensure clients receive a maximum benefit from them.
Clients may also want to make specific provisions in wills and trusts to account for how the inherited assets may be used or distributed.
The end of marriage almost always necessitates new estate planning.
Among other at-times complicated tasks, clients often need our team’s help revising or re-creating wills and trusts to be consistent with the changes that result due to divorce.
We may also review the proposed terms of a marital settlement agreement to ensure it comports with our clients’ estate planning needs and goals.
Few of us make it through life without experiencing the weight of some personal tragedy, from an unexpected, untimely death, to a life-changing injury, to the collapse of a business or a personal reputation.
If we’re lucky, we are at the periphery of tragic events and only feel their effects second-hand, but many of us must endure them directly. Whatever the case, life’s cruel disruptions often bring clients back through our doors, having learned through hardship a lesson they want their estate plans to reflect.
This may involve a reordering of their bequests, a revision of a living will, or reconsideration of who to name as an executor or trustee. We try our best to counsel our clients through these difficult times with both compassion and the diligence the circumstances demand.
As clients near the end of their lives, many of them seek our help in ensuring their legacy is in order. We may review an estate plan in its entirety in light of recent or expected changes in the law, for instance.
Clients have also asked for our help in structuring charitable bequests to schools, hospitals, and other institutions. Some clients simply want to sit down with us to walk through exactly what will happen when they pass, to give them a certain peace of mind. We are always honored to assist.
Ohio Estate Planning Attorneys
The lawyers at Dworken & Bernstein have had the privilege of representing Ohio clients and their families over generations. We take pride in helping them protect their loved ones and legacies through sophisticated, timely, personalized service.
Whether or not you have recently experienced any of the life events above, we invite you to contact us to discuss your estate planning goals.
The information presented in this post is not legal advice and does not form a lawyer/client relationship. Laws and circumstances can differ and change.
Please contact us for a personal review of your situation