WILLS – TRUSTS – ESTATE PLANNING
Estate planning involves the structuring of the process for transferring your valuable property to your family members or other individuals to insure an orderly transition with a minimal amount of interference. Legal documents utilized for estate planning typically involve wills and trusts. A will is the document which designates the recipient of the property of the individual upon his or her death and the designation of the estate representative which is identified as an Executor. Although the statutes of the State of Ohio will provide for the transfer of these assets in the absence of a will, the results will not always match the desires of the individual.
Accordingly, the utilization of a will for this purpose is a relatively simple document to satisfy the needs of that individual.
A trust is a procedure through which the assets of an individual are transferred to another individual or entity which is known as a “Trustee” during the lifetime of the individual, or pursuant to the provisions of the individual’s Will. The Trustee is the person or entity selected by the individual to hold title to and administer the property according to the terms of the Trust. The individual and the Trustee enter into a Trust Agreement which sets forth the terms for the holding and administration of the assets of the Trust including, without limitation, real property, cash, investments, or any other form of property and the ultimate distribution of the property upon the death of the individual or some other specifically designated time or event. With a properly structured Trust Agreement, the assets remaining in the Trust at the time of the individual’s death are transferred to designated beneficiaries or are distributed to beneficiaries over a defined period of time and pursuant to specifications as to amounts. All property transferred into the Trust will be exempt from Probate Court proceedings such that the assets of the Trust can be distributed immediately after the death of the individual. Although a Trust is a substantially more involved and detailed document than a Will, the benefits of utilizing a Trust for the management of the assets of the individual during his or her lifetime and providing for an orderly and more rapid distribution of the assets of the Trust to designated beneficiaries offers many benefits to the individual.
Normally, an individual is advised to use both a Will and a Trust for overall estate planning.