Sound Estate Planning and Administration Legal Services for Greene County Residents

If you pass on without the proper documents in place, the distribution of your estate falls in the hands of the state of Ohio. While the Ohio court will attempt to divide your assets in a fair manner, your wishes will not be heard nor respected. Having a clear and thoughtful estate plan ensures that your beneficiaries receive assets in alignment with your vision. While an estate plan can include a wide array of documents, it is recommended that every individual put in place at least four key elements: a will, a living trust, a power of attorney, and a health care advance directive. The seasoned estate planning attorneys at Miller, Finney & McKeown LLC will work with you to create a customized estate plan that will ensure your wishes are clearly documented and, when the time comes, we will handle the administration of your estate with compassion and an impeccable attention to detail.

Putting a Will in Place

As you likely know already, a will is a legal document that expresses your preferences for the distribution of your property and assets upon your death. The legal team at Miller, Finney & McKeown LLC will guide you through the process of drafting and signing a will that clearly articulates your specific wishes for the dispersal of your estate.

When a person passes on without having a will in place, the state of Ohio steps in and handles the distribution of your estate for you. When this happens, your family can experience a great amount of stress, and heirs often become embroiled in bitter and expensive legal battles. In order to prevent such disputes and confusion, putting a will in place protects your family from this trying process and gives your beneficiaries a clear map of how to handle the distribution of your assets and property.

Although there are many forms available online for you to create a will, most of these documents are generic and impersonal. As you are planning for the protection of your family’s future, you should take the utmost care to create a will that is customized to the needs of you and your family. Our firm believes that an effective will should be customized to suit the unique circumstances of each family, as a one-size-fits-all approach does not give you the protections you deserve. Call us today to learn more about how we can tailor the process to address your family’s unique needs.

Establishing a Living Trust

When a person passes away, the will goes through the probate process, during which the will is examined, the property and assets are inventoried and appraised, any debts and taxes are paid, and the assets are distributed according to the specifications put forth in the will. Probate usually occurs in state court, meaning your information could become part of the public record. Many people wish to avoid probate, so they establish a revocable living trust. The trust then assumes ownership of your estate while you are still living, allowing you to continue to manage it until you are no longer able to do so. Upon your death, the trust dissolves and your assets are distributed according to your wishes, allowing your family to avoid the probate process. A living trust usually allows for the faster distribution of your assets and property. During the estate planning process, we will go over the benefits of establishing a living trust and help you pursue this option upon your request.

Assigning Power of Attorney

Power of attorney (POA) assigns legal authority to a trusted person of your choosing to handle transactions, sign documents, or make decisions in your place. For instance, you may desire to have someone handle a one-time transaction, such as selling your home, while you attend to other matters. Or, you may wish to give someone the authority to repeatedly sign documents on your behalf. There are many types of POAs, so discussing your unique circumstances with an experienced estate planning lawyer is helpful in identifying your POA needs. Whatever these needs are, the trusted estate planning attorneys at Miller, Finney & McKeown LLC will help you put the necessary POAs in place so that you can ensure your wishes will be honored and executed properly when the time comes.

Creating Health Care Advance Directives and Appointing Healthcare Surrogates

Although many people think that a will and a health care directive are interchangeable, these documents are actually completed separately. A heath care advance directive includes several documents, including a living will, a healthcare power of attorney (also called a healthcare surrogate), a DNRO order, among other documents relating to your healthcare preferences. Making sure these documents are in place before you find yourself in a situation in which you cannot communicate your treatment preferences (such as a stroke or coma) ensures that your wishes will be upheld and followed. We will walk you through these important details to ensure your estate plan is comprehensive and customized to suit your specific needs.

Miller, Finney & McKeown LLC proudly serves clients and families throughout Xenia, Dayton, Greene County and the Miami Valley. If you are looking for estate planning and administration help, contact our office today at (937) 372-8055 to schedule a free initial consultation.