Columbus Area Estate Lawyer, Including Estate and Trust Administration.


What is a Probate?

When people refer to “probate” they are usually referring to the process used to administer assets after a death.  The general rule is that probate administration is needed after a death if the person died owning assets in his or her name alone. If probate administration is needed, an Executor or Administrator will often times be appointed. This process of going through “probate” is also called estate administration. “Probate” in the form of a Guardianship can also be necessary during a person’s lifetime in the event of a disability.

What Does an Estate Lawyer Do?

An estate lawyer helps the Executor, Administrator or Trustee administer the estate or trust so that creditors are paid, and assets are transferred and distributed according to the terms of the Last Will & Testament, Trust and/or Ohio law. An estate lawyer can also draft estate planning documents, including but not limited to: Last Will & Testament, Durable Power of Attorney, Trusts, Living Wills, Health Care Powers of Attorney.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate planning is the process of signing documents during your lifetime that address how you want things handled in the event you become disabled during your lifetime, and how you want property distributed at your death. It is also a process of reviewing what assets you own and how the registration of the assets will govern how the asset is transferred at your death.

How Much Does it Cost to Have a Last Will and Testament Prepared?

It is hard to tell someone how much a Last Will and Testament will cost without meeting with them to gather information regarding their specific circumstances. Also, a Last Will and Testament is just a part of an estate plan. A Durable Power of Attorney, Living Will and Health Care Power of Attorney are other documents that usually make up an estate plan. Sometimes a Trust will be used.  I do not charge for the initial client meeting. After the initial meeting, I will know what documents will be needed, will let the client know the cost and the client can decide whether or not they want to proceed to have the documents prepared.

Why do I Need a Last Will and Testament?

Every adult should have a Last Will and Testament to direct who the beneficiaries will be and who will be the Executor.  A Last Will and Testament can give an Executor authority to  do things such as sell property, which can make the administration of the estate simpler and easier.  A Last Will and Testament can waive the requirement of a bond to keep the cost of administrating the estate lower.  In addition, every parent of a minor child(ren) should have a Last Will and Testament that will name the Guardian for your child(ren).

What is a Trust?

A trust is a document that provides instructions for how assets are to be held and administered.  There are different types of trusts.

When Would a Trust Be Recommended?

Some reasons a trust might be recommended include: if your beneficiaries are children, if you want to keep assets under the control of a Trustee until your beneficiaries attain a certain age; if estate taxes are a concern; if you have been married previously; if out of state real estate is owned and/or if privacy is a concern, as assets administered through a probate estate are a public record.