Comprehensive Tax & Legal Solutions

Toledo Final Will Preparation Attorneys

The death of a parent or loved one can be a hard and deeply emotional experience. Moreover, it becomes more complicated if there is no will, or one that is poorly written. Experts always advise people to put some real thought into a will and work with an estate law attorney to address issues that go much further than dividing the furniture.

A well-considered will can make it easier on survivors because the important decisions (save those unforeseen issues that arise) are considered and addressed. This can avoid igniting long simmering emotions or highlighting schisms that sometimes form in families. Along with the following tips, an experienced attorney can help guide clients through the decision-making process and help spot potential areas of trouble.

Why Choose Mockensturm, Ltd., For Your Will Preparation?

That’s where Mockensturm, Ltd., is here to help. As a law firm with a strong focus on tax law, we use our knowledge of the tax system to create an estate plan that is legally secure and maximizes the wealth and legacy that you pass on to your heirs by fully utilizing tax-efficient strategies.

When you work with us we promise that you will speak and work directly with one of our attorneys who will listen to your specific concerns and develop a unique estate plan to fit your needs. We will focus on building an estate plan that minimizes family conflicts and maximizes the legacy that you leave behind.

Consider us as a part of your family, available for any ongoing updates or questions you have regarding your prepared estate plan. Leave a positive memory and legacy for your family by preparing a legal final will with our firm.

Why Prepare A Will?

If you don’t prepare a will, you will die intestate and would face an extended and contentious Ohio probate court process.

The cost of probate is on average between 3-8% the worth of your estate. That means if your estate is worth $1 Million, then on average around $50,000 is lost in the probate process. That’s money that could go directly to your heirs with a legally-sound will.

The probate process may last from six months to two years or longer in Ohio, during which time heirs are hiring probate attorneys to represent their interests at probate court. This process can be contentious for many grieving families and cause emotional pain between them.

According to Ohio law, much of your wealth intestate will pass without a will “per stripes.”

What Does “Per Stripes” Mean In Ohio Intestate Laws?

When named beneficiaries die before the testator, “per stripes” is a rigid process of intestate law that splits wealth across your decedents, when the decedent passes away without a will, or when the will is declared invalid. The following are a few examples of the per stripes designations and intestate rules:

  • If the widowed spouse is the biological or adoptive parent of the surviving children any distributions will go to the spouse
  • If there are no surviving children, all of the distributions will go to the spouse
  • If the widowed spouse is not the biological or adoptive parent of the surviving children, funds are split with the spouse receiving half, and the remaining children splitting the rest

There are additional rules for when the surviving children had spouses, how an estate will be split between siblings or how to split the remaining funds between grandparents, next of kin and stepchildren. When a person dies without a will, the intestate laws and probate process can cause acute difficulties for relatives with blended families, domestic partners, and estranged or distant family members. Having a will ensures that your estate is divided the way that you want it to be divided and not according to the per stipes intestate laws.

Why You Need To Hire A Lawyer To Prepare Your Will  

Some people write up a will without the help of a lawyer, but things can easily go wrong. Notably, there are four situations that can develop:

The Will Gets Lost

When a person in Ohio dies, their will is submitted to the probate court. The original will must be submitted in order for the probate court to oversee the distribution of the estate according to the terms set forth in the will. If the original will cannot be found, this will delay the entire process and cause extra expenses and unnecessary delays for family members. The family will have to prove what the will says in order to settle the estate. Without the original will, it will be difficult to prove the decedent’s wishes.

The Will Is Not Prepared Properly

When a will is not prepared properly or is not updated properly it can be declared invalid. There are legal requirements in the state of Ohio to ensure that a will is valid. In order for a will to be valid, it must be witnessed and signed. Changes can always be made to a will, but these have to be properly executed in accordance with the law. If a will is not properly executed, it could be declared invalid. If your will is declared invalid, your property, assets and estate will not be able to be distributed in the way that you want it to be.

The Will Fails To Consider All Of The Assets

When a will fails to take into account all of the testator’s financial assets or the designated distributions are vague, problems can arise. When attempting to write a will, it can be difficult to think of everything when it comes to your assets and property. An experienced lawyer, who helps a lot of clients prepare their wills, is able to help you think of everything you need to include in a will. Likewise, an experienced attorney will also be able to help ensure that the designations are clear and that the assets and descriptions are appropriately defined.

The Will Does Not Consider Inheritance Tax Consequences

When an estate is distributed, an inheritance is considered taxable income and inheritance tax will apply. An estate attorney understands the tax implications and potential tax consequences to the asset distributions and designations that you set forth in your will. More importantly, an experienced lawyer will be able to help draft a will that will minimize the tax liabilities of your heirs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Estate Planning Services

Our lawyers know that the estate and probate process is complicated. Here, they answer some of the frequently asked questions. For answers to your specific questions, we offer an initial consultation appointment where we can explain more about how we can help you.

What is the estate and inheritance tax bracket for Ohio?

In 2023 the estate tax bracket was $12,920,000. If your estate is worth less than this, then you will not have to pay an estate tax.

How should I deal with my family home in my will?

The family home is many families biggest asset, so getting home equity caught in probate court can be a devastating delay for many descendants. We work with families to make transferring home assets easy. Often we work with families to use a unique legal tool that allows deed transfers upon death (rather than probate).

Should I use a will or a trust?

A will allows you to choose how you distribute your assets. You can list your assets and provide instructions as to who should take possession of it. In a will, you can choose your personal representative to carry out the will’s terms.

A trust, on the other hand, allows you to set aside property and assets for specific purposes. It allows you to provide instruction concerning the holding of assets. A trust can also set conditions regarding distribution of those assets. If you have a child who will need lifelong care, a special needs trust may be a good idea.

Call Today To Schedule An Initial Consultation

At Mockensturm, Ltd., we know that you can have a lot of questions when contemplating an estate plan. Our wills and trust attorneys are happy to answer any questions that you may have in an initial consultation appointment. Call us today at 419-792-1143 or send an email through our website to schedule your appointment today. We look forward to telling you more about how we can help you prepare an estate plan that is right for you.