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Parma Estate Planning And Probate Blog

4 reasons to put together a will as soon as possible

When it comes to important legal documents, your will is perhaps the most necessary of them all. A will protects you and the people you love in a number of ways. Not having one can threaten your estate and lead to conflict.

There are dozens of reasons to put a will together, but these four are among the top reasons to do so. Here's a little more about why a will is so important.

Ohio courts hurting families, children in divorce

If you have to go to court for your divorce and have children, you want the court to do what's best for your family. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. A report from Sept. 26 states that Ohio's domestic-relations courts aren't dealing with parental separations as well as they should, and that's having an impact on children.

It's been found by one groundbreaking study by the National Parents Organization that Ohio's courts are part of the problem. While custody decisions are supposed to be in the best interests of the children, it would seem that the courts aren't encouraging shared physical custody despite the fact that it's typically better for children.

Creating an estate plan with a pet in mind

People accumulate many assets over the course of a lifetime. While it may be tough to categorize and plan for everything, there is one area you should not overlook: your pets

Many people end up passing away owning a dog or cat. Animal shelters all over the country end up taking these animals in, and unfortunately, the shelters often need to put the animals down. That is why anyone who owns an animal needs to prepare for what will happen to that pet after the death of its owner in a detailed estate plan

Waiting periods to adopt are terrifying for adoptive parents

A family who adopted several children brings to light how adoption laws can vary between states. It's something you need to be familiar with because there is a risk of having an adoption revoked in some instances.

In the story of this family, they described adopting in Ohio. In Ohio, the consent to adopt could be signed five days following the birth of the child. At that point, the adoption was, except in extraneous situations, irrevocable. That's the good news. However, if you were a family supporting a mother who changed her mind in that short time, you'd be out of luck when attempting to adopt.

3 reasons an estate may go to probate

If a loved one has recently passed away, you may learn that the estate is entering probate court. You may not know exactly what this means or why it is happening, though. There are a number of reasons why an estate may end up in probate. Whether you are a beneficiary or not, understanding them can help you understand the process that follows so you know what to expect.

The following are three of the most common reasons why an estate may go to probate. Typically, if one of the following circumstances applies, a probate court handles the estate by assessing its value, paying any final debts and distributing the assets to beneficiaries.

Getting ready for divorce: Handling finances

In 2015, statistics showed that 3.4 percent of married Americans went through a divorce. Many of them went through the divorces without considering how their situation would impact their finances.

Even in cases where divorce is amicable, finances can play a role in causing trouble. Here's what you can do to help prevent financial trouble.

Here's what you shouldn't include in your will

If you're making a will, you may believe that it can cover everything you want to do when you pass away. The reality is that there are some things you should not include in your will, because it won't govern your property or wishes accurately.

The trouble is that some items have their own processes for distributing them to your heirs or beneficiaries. For example, if you have life insurance, it likely works independently of your will. Even if you include it in the will, any discrepancies will likely result in the insurance coverage's instructions kicking in instead of using your will's directions. If someone has a problem with that, then they may have to go to court over the discrepancy.

What can you accomplish with an irrevocable living trust?

If you, like so many others across Ohio, have worked hard for years to build up your wealth and assets, you may be starting to think about how you might best preserve your wealth for your children or other loved ones. While you probably have numerous options at your disposal, one thing you may want to consider doing is creating an irrevocable living trust.

While, as its name implies, you cannot alter an irrevocable living trust once you create it, there are many benefits that come with establishing this type of fiduciary arrangement. It can also help you leave more of your wealth behind for your loved ones after your passing than you may be able to through a traditional will. More specifically, creating an irrevocable living trust typically allows you to:

How do you divide your property if you're not married?

Unmarried couples may struggle if they decide to separate for a few reasons. To start with, they're not protected by the same laws as married couples. This can mean that assets won't be considered shared property and that it's more likely that the pair will have to determine how to separate their property between themselves. In the case that there are shared assets, like credit cards in both people's names or shared bank accounts, are normally separated equally or equitably based on who made deposits, ran charges and other factors.

Ohio's laws do address nonmarital household property division. Ohio doesn't give you a right to go to trial to seek the equal or equitable distribution of your property, though. Ohio does not recognize a common-law marriage, either, which means that you'll be unable to fall back on the laws that could have protected you in a long-term, but unmarried, relationship. However, if you lived together in another state and met that state's requirements for a common-law marriage, then the Ohio courts may recognize your common-law marriage so long as you've become a resident of the state and meet the current residency requirements.

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