Estate Planning And Trusts
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Experienced Counsel For Estate Planning And Estate Administration

The decisions you make today regarding your estate determine how your property will be divided and what estate taxes will need to be paid after your passing. These are difficult decisions, but if you don’t take the time to make these decisions now, a court may end up dividing your property for you.

Make sure that your final wishes are carried out by consulting with Susan J. Lax R.N., M.S. LLC. Our legal team will help you draft a will, create a living trust or draw up powers of attorney to protect your legacy. We also guide executors and personal representatives through the probate and estate administration process.

Estate Planning

Planning your estate now will help you get your records and belongings organized so that your family and/or beneficiary can locate everything easily in the event of your passing. Your estate comprises your car, home, any real estate, bank accounts, insurance plans (specifically life insurance), furniture and various personal possessions.

If you take the time to plan your estate now, you can have peace of mind knowing you have everything set up for when you pass. So, if you are ready to protect your assets with your own rules instead of leaving the choices to a generic court, call Susan J. Lax so she can help you protect your life’s possessions.

Drafting A Will

A will enables you to control, to a large extent, what happens after your passing. With wills, you can usually choose an executor, designate a guardian for minor children (or those unable to care for themselves) and distribute your property, among other things. The only components that are transferrable through wills are any property or property items that you own in your name only. A will can also contain a health care directive or “living will,” which declares your wishes for end-of-life care.

If you don’t have a will when you die, your property could be distributed differently than what you would like. To prevent this from happening to you, call Ms. Lax so she can help you make or revise your final decisions.

Trusts

Trusts are used to complement a will by transferring your property to your designated beneficiary. With a trust, you can place specific conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed.

With trust administration, the trust assets need to be documented, beneficiaries notified and taxes paid, and trust assets must be managed in accordance with the terms of the trust. Ms. Lax can explain the functions of different types of trusts and determine the ones that will accomplish your specific estate planning goals.

Powers Of Attorney

Power of attorney (POA) is an instrument that appoints someone to manage your affairs on your behalf if you become incapacitated by injury, illness or dementia. The person, known as an “attorney-in-fact,” acts as your agent.

Having a power of attorney can be beneficial because you can specify your agent to not make any decisions unless you are incapable of doing so yourself due to a disability, coma or other reason that prevents you from signing a contract. These types of POAs can be considered “springing” because the authority of the agent only comes into effect when a specific event, time or date happens. Typically, we arrange a durable power of attorney for financial matters and a health care power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf. These powers can be given to one trusted person, or you could appoint separate people for each.

For help deciding whom you would like to make your decisions under the terms that you state, contact Ms. Lax. She is well prepared to draft the legal paperwork to have everything unfold as you would wish it to in the event that you cannot act for yourself due to unfortunate circumstances.

Guardianships

A guardianship is an involuntary trust relationship that involves one party, called a guardian, acting for an individual, called the ward. The law regards the ward as incapable of managing his or her own person and/or affairs.

An incompetent adult or minor child can have a court-appointed guardian. The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 2111.01 (d)(1) defines incompetent as:

“…any person who is so mentally impaired as a result of a mental or physical illness or disability, or mental retardation, or as a result of chronic substance abuse, that the person is incapable of taking proper care of the person’s self or property or fails to provide for the person’s family or other persons for whom the person is charged by law to provide, or any person confined to a penal institution within this state.”

Those who serve as guardians undertake the legal responsibility to make major life decisions and agree to advocate on behalf of their wards. Guardians provide consent for medical treatment; obtain and coordinate community services; secure benefits; obtain housing; make funeral plans; visit their wards regularly; communicate with family, friends, caregivers and service providers; attend probate court hearings; and complete probate court reports.

If you are in need of a guardian or guardianship, Ms. Lax can help you complete the necessary steps to undertake this important position for the person in your life whom you believe needs help.

Estate Administration And Trust Administration

Have you been named in a will as executor of a loved one’s estate or nominated as a personal representative for the estate of a person who died without a will? Are you confused about the responsibilities of a trust administrator, or are you a trust administrator who is concerned about the way trustees are currently managing and distributing trust assets? Ms. Lax can help you understand and carry out your estate administration and trust administration duties, including any probate court proceedings. She can help appointed trustees manage the trust in accordance with the trust’s terms and conditions.

Full Service And Personal Attention

Susan J. Lax will take the time to answer your questions and listen to your goals to provide customized estate planning documents that reflect your wishes. Call our Akron law office at 330-745-1500 to arrange a consultation or contact us online.