As the cost of higher education increases, so does the amount of student loan debt held by Americans. Some people are paying off their student loans even after they've retired. Others are still paying off loans they've taken out for their children.
When people with considerable assets and complicated families pass away without an estate plan in place, loved ones and others often engage in expensive, lengthy, contentious legal battles. That's probably not what the deceased person would have wanted. Unfortunately, people don't want to think about their ultimate passing, so they don't take steps that would help avoid these disputes.
Many people don't begin to think about estate planning until they're nearing -- or already in -- retirement. However, younger adults are starting to see the advantages of at least beginning to build an estate plan. According to a survey by Caring.com, about a third of adults in their mid-30s to mid-40s have drafted a will.
As you work on your estate plan, much of your focus will be on what will happen to your assets when you die. Who will get the money in your accounts, your home, your antiques and more?
Inheritance theft takes many forms. It's often not as simple as someone taking possession of a deceased loved one's wedding ring from the hospital or walking out of the house with a set of fine china because it was "promised" to them.
Individuals who set up trusts do so to protect their funds from being overtaxed, easily squandered and to protect a loved one's eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid. It can be unnerving for you to find out that your trustee isn't carrying out their assigned duties or acting in a financially prudent way. Many signs may send a message to you that it's time to replace your trustee.
Your rich relative died and left everything to charity. You were hoping for a windfall. Can you contest the will?
Most people who are chosen to be executors of a loved one's estate aren't estate planning attorneys. However, they have legal obligations under Ohio probate laws. You don't want to run afoul of those laws.
An executor is someone who the testator (the person drafting a will) appoints to pay their final debts, preserve the value of their assets and to distribute those assets upon their death. Estate planning attorneys generally advise their clients to pick someone who is both trustworthy and responsible for this role. When the executor fails to do what they're supposed to, their beneficiaries may ask a judge to have them removed from their role.
Individuals draft health care directives to clearly spell the types of medications or life-saving care that they'd want to receive if they became unable to verbalize those same decisions for themselves.