Probate and Estate Planning
Estate planning or transfers, estate administration, taxes, wills and trust work are major decisions that require professional legal guidance. This is one of the areas of expertise at Shindler Neff.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal proceeding that takes place when an individual dies, and leaves behind a will, an estate, and/or a trust that needs to be distributed according to that person's wishes. Generally, the probate process ensures that the will is valid (a fairly routine process), and also requires taking inventory and/or appraisal of the individual's property and assets. Cases that pass through probate court are a matter of public record, with the exception of trusts (see below).
A will is a document that determines how you would like to distribute your assets after death. in the state of Ohio, any person of sound mind over the age of 18 is eligible to draft a will. The signing of the will must be witnessed by two people who have no interest in the assets, and the document must adhere to strict execution guidelines.
(See more legal information about wills in Ohio from the Ohio State Bar Association.)
A trust is an arrangement that allows a third party, also known as a trustee, to carry assets on behalf of the beneficiary. Since trusts bypass probate court, they do not become public record, and wealth can be distributed privately according to the terms of the trust. There are many different kinds of trusts, depending on circumstantial factors such as marriage and income, and an attorney can help determine the type that's best for you.