Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of arranging for the management and distribution of your assets in the event of your incapacity and/or after your death. It involves making key decisions about your assets, beneficiaries, and healthcare. Making such decisions proactively while you still have capacity to do so results in your wishes being carried out according to your preferences when you’re no longer able to manage them yourself.

Why Do I Need Estate Planning?

If you're not familiar with estate planning, you may be asking yourself this question. Before you can appreciate the answer to this question, you should first understand the meaning of 'estate' in the context of estate planning. Briefly stated, your estate is all of the property (both real and personal) that you legally own prior to your death. Real property is any land you own, along with any structures, fixtures, and rights connected to that land. Personal property refers to tangible goods that can be moved, such as money.
Next, it helps to understand how the law handles estates. Estate planning is a subset of Trust and Estate law, an area of the law that concerns asset protection during one's life and asset distribution following one's death. Trust and Estate law also includes estate administration, which is the process that others go through after your final night comes to bring a conclusion to your financial affairs and distribute your property to the appropriate parties. It's very important to understand that the law has its own rules for what happens to your estate after your death. If you pass away without a will or a trust (which is called 'intestacy' under the law), then the courts step in to decide who gets what based on the specific intestacy laws of the state you resided in at the time of your passing. But those same rules also grant you a path to specify (in a very specific manner prescribed by the law) your own intentions and desires for what will happen to your estate.
Estate planning, then, is a critical aspect of securing your assets and ensuring a smooth transition for your loved ones when you are no longer here. Without a comprehensive estate plan in place, the distribution of your assets can be subject to unnecessary challenges and potentially costly legal proceedings. Here are just a few reasons why you would benefit from estate planning services.
  • Protecting Your Loved Ones

    Estate planning isn't just about money and property; it's about safeguarding the well-being of your loved ones. Through estate planning, you can designate guardians for your minor children, ensuring they're cared for by trusted individuals if you're no longer around.
  • Minimizing Conflict

    Without a clear estate plan, disputes among family members can arise, leading to lengthy and costly legal battles. Estate planning allows you to clearly outline your wishes, minimizing the potential for confusion or disagreement among heirs.
  • Memorialize Healthcare Wishes

    Estate planning involves more than just distributing assets; it also encompasses advanced directives for healthcare. Through documents like a living will and a healthcare power of attorney, you can outline your preferences for medical treatment and appoint someone to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
  • Tax Efficiency

    Proper estate planning can help reduce the tax burden on your estate, allowing you to maximize the amount of wealth passed on to your beneficiaries. Strategies such as establishing trusts or making strategic gifts can help mitigate estate taxes and ensure that your assets are distributed according to your intentions.

OHIO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY

Estate planning can feel overwhelming. That's why we pride ourselves on providing personalized and compassionate guidance to our clients. Our team takes the time to listen to your concerns, understand your unique circumstances, and craft a strategic plan that aligns with your wishes.
We have a clear understanding of the relevant Ohio laws and regulations. We assist estate planning clients throughout the State of Ohio. We stay up to date with the latest legal developments and continuously expand our knowledge to provide you with cutting-edge solutions.

GETTING STARTED WITH ESTATE PLANNING

  • Assess Your Assets and Liabilities

    Compile a list of your assets, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, and personal property, as well as any debts or liabilities.
  • Define Your Objectives

    Consider your goals for estate planning, whether it’s providing for your family, minimizing taxes, or supporting charitable causes.
  • Consult with Professionals

    Estate planning can be complex, so seek guidance from qualified professionals such as estate planning attorneys, financial advisors, and tax experts who can help you navigate the process and ensure your plan aligns with your goals.
  • Develop A Strategic Plan

    Under the guidance of a qualified professional, create a draft plan that meets your unique goals and objectives.
  • Finalize Your Plan and Funding

    Follow any applicable legal requirements to finalize your plan, and make sure to fund any trusts that you have established.
  • Review and Update Regularly

    Life circumstances and laws change over time, so it’s essential to review and update your estate plan regularly to reflect any major life events or legislative changes.
Estate Planning Cycle

ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER IN CLEVELAND, OHIO

Estate planning is a complex process that involves making important decisions about how your assets will be managed and distributed after your passing. Each estate presents unique challenges requiring creative problem-solving and extensive understanding and training in Ohio estate planning law.
By leveraging our knowledge and experience, you can feel confident that your estate plan will align with the latest laws and regulations, which do change over time. Our team will help you navigate complex legal terminologies and processes. Furthermore, an estate planning lawyer can revisit and amend your estate plan as needed as time passes.

SOME KEY ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS

An effective estate plan requires a comprehensive approach, and we can help you through the process. Some components of a comprehensive and effective estate plan include the following.
1. Will:

A will is a legal document that allows you to express your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your passing. It is a crucial component of estate planning because it ensures that your loved ones are taken care of and that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Our Cleveland estate planning attorney can guide you through the process, ensuring that your will is legally enforceable and meets all the necessary requirements.

It's important to have a will because this document is submitted to the probate court following a death. Without a will, your estate is subject to intestate succession laws. This may lead to your assets being distributed in a way that does not align with your intentions and may cause unnecessary disputes among your loved ones.
2. Living Trust

A living trust is a powerful legal tool that can protect your assets and ensure your wishes are carried out even after your passing. As a Cleveland, OH estate planning lawyer, Rhodium Law can help you create a trust that meets Ohio’s specifications and your individual goals. A trust is a customizable document, so the experience level and knowledge of your attorney will play a big role in how functional and strategic your trust is.

One of the main reasons trusts are important is because they allow you to bypass probate regarding trust property, which is the legal process of administering a person's estate after their death. Probate can be lengthy, expensive, and often involves public scrutiny. By having a trust in place, your assets can be distributed to your beneficiaries without the need for probate.
3. Power of Attorney:

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone else, known as an attorney-in-fact or agent, to make important decisions on your behalf. These decisions can range from managing your finances (financial power of attorney) to making healthcare decisions when you are unable to do so yourself (healthcare power of attorney).

In Ohio, a power of attorney must be drafted and executed following specific legal requirements to ensure its validity. It is essential to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Cleveland who can guide you through this process and ensure that your power of attorney accurately reflects your wishes.

Without a power of attorney, your loved ones would have to go through the lengthy and expensive process of obtaining guardianship or conservatorship over you, which can be both emotionally and financially draining.
4. Advanced Directives:

Advanced directives are legal documents that expresses your healthcare wishes in the event that you are unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself. They outline the types of medical treatment you would like to receive or not receive under certain circumstances, and allow you to designate a trusted person as your healthcare agent to make decisions on your behalf.

Creating advanced directives is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are respected and that you receive the care you desire. An attorney who focuses on estate planning like we do at Rhodium Law can help you navigate Ohio’s legal requirements for drafting advanced directives, ensuring that it is valid and enforceable. They can guide you through the process, explain your options, and help you understand the implications of your choices.

ESTATE PLANNING LAWYER FOR OHIO RESIDENTS

Even if you already have these documents in place, the terms can become outdated quickly. With life events come the necessity to update your estate plan, and Rhodium Law can carefully review your current plan and address any changes you wish to make to ensure your estate plan reflects your current wishes and life circumstances.

OUR PROCESS

Whether you've been referred to us by a satisfied client, a trusted professional, or discovered our firm online, taking that first step is crucial. We understand the hesitation, and are here to help put you at ease. Here's an overview of our process for estate planning clients:
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CONTACT US

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INITIAL
CONSULTATION

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VISION MEETING

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ENGAGEMENT
LETTER

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DRAFTING AND REVIEW

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SIGNING

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FINAL STEPS

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YOU DON'T HAVE TO FACE THIS JOURNEY ALONE
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Rhodium Law, LLC is an estate plannning and elder law firm serving clients in Greater Cleveland and throughout the State of Ohio. We assist individuals and families to STRATEGIZE, SECURE their legacy, and help their golden years SHINE bright.
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