Estate planning is a critical part of getting older. It ensures that your finances are secure, your long-term care is considered, and your ducks are all in a row. However, many Americans avoid establishing a comprehensive estate plan until it’s too late. This can leave them racing to get their affairs in order in the event of a health crisis or other unforeseen issue.
If you’ve been putting off preparing for your future, the Columbus estate planning attorney Dirken Winkler can help. Winkler Legal has over 23 years of experience helping families get ready for retirement and can work with you to formulate an effective plan for growing older. We work with clients every step of the way to understand the importance of estate planning, the factors involved, and the options available for long-term care. We are dedicated to providing knowledgeable and effective estate planning services to Columbus and the surrounding areas, so you can rest assured that your future is secure.
What is an estate plan?
Estate planning is getting your legal affairs in order so that you can face retirement with certainty knowing that you and your loved ones will be taken care of. This includes writing a will, financial power of attorney, healthcare power of establishing, trusts to avoid probate and protect assets. Protecting your assets from the high cost of nursing care as you age is very important, especially when 7 out of ten seniors will have a long-term stay in a hospital or care facility. Estate planning can be extremely complex, and it is essential that you consult an attorney that has the experience to guide you properly. Winkler Legal is here to help you every step of the way.
Why do I need a COLUMBUS estate plan attorney?
An estate plan not only ensures the care and support of loved ones after you pass, but it also provides for your financial and healthcare needs as you age. A wills and estate planning attorney in Columbus can help create a comprehensive estate plan that is unique as you and your family and is tailored to your circumstances. There is no one size fits all estate plan. Here are just some examples of how our estate plans can help families:
- A young family can assure their children will be provided for physically and financially should something happen to the parents.
- A family member with special needs can be guaranteed to have their needs met without jeopardizing government benefits or other assistance.
- An elderly couple’s estate plan maximizes the preservation of their assets in the situation a costly catastrophic health event occurs.
- Parents of a young adult can create an estate plan that provides the proceeds of a life insurance policy are only distributed once certain life milestones are reached (graduation, marriage, first home, etc.).
HOW CAN A COLUMBUS ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY HELP ME?
At Winkler Legal, we know how complex the estate planning process can be. There are a wide range of factors to consider, each more important than the last, from appointing a durable power of attorney, to asset protection. Winkler Legal offers a wide variety of estate planning services to help you prepare for the future. We work with you every step of the way from understanding your concerns and goals, to your assets, we will create an estate plan that provides you peace of mind.
Columbus Will Lawyer
A will is the best way to ensure that your wishes are respected when you’re gone. Simply put, an Ohio will is a legal document that denotes how your estate will be distributed once you’ve passed away. It is the backbone to any estate plan. Without a Will, your assets will be distributed in accordance with the Ohio Descent and Distribution Statute (“you lose control over whom will receive your property”)
In addition to detailing your final wishes and distributing your assets, a will also serves to appoint a trusted individual as the executor of your estate. The executor will be responsible for a variety of things, including gathering your assets, paying required debts, and distributing estate assets to the beneficiary(ies) in your Will.
A Will is also the main way of nominating a guardian to care for minor children in the event that both parents are no longer living. A Will can be used to ensure that the guardian over the minor children will have the finances necessary to assist in the myriad of costs associated with raising a child. At Winkler Legal, our Columbus estate planning attorney works with you to create a Will that will take into consideration your unique circumstances and needs.
Columbus Durable Power of Attorney Lawyer
Delegating durable power of attorney to an individual is a critical protection against the unknown when growing older. A durable power of attorney authorizes another person to act on your behalf in the event of a significant healthcare crisis in which you cannot make decisions for yourself. It is a core component of an estate plan, and will ensure that your financial affairs and needs will be met if you are incapacitated.
A Durable Power of Attorney is technically a legal document in which you, the “principal”, authorizes another individual, known as the “agent”, or “attorney in fact” to make decisions on behalf of the principal. In this document, the scope and nature of this authority is set forth in the terms of the document. Powers conferred to the agent include control over your bank accounts, insurance, IRAs and more. It’s important to note that a durable power of attorney only grants authority over finances, gifting, estate planning, business interests, and other legal decisions. At Winkler Legal, our Columbus estate planning lawyer can help you determine the best suited person to serve as your agent.
Columbus Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will
In Ohio, it’s important to have a second form of power of attorney– this is known as an Ohio Healthcare Power of Attorney. This document empowers a chosen individual, known as the “healthcare representative” to make medical and healthcare decisions for you, the “principal” in the event that you are unable to make healthcare decisions. These decisions can include medical treatments, surgeries, long-term care choices, and more. The healthcare representative can also be given the authority to make end-of-life decisions consistent with a living will, so it’s critically important to establish this before any healthcare crises arise.
The other half of having an Ohio healthcare power of attorney is establishing an Ohio Living Will. A living sets-forth your wishes regarding end of life care including cessation of medical treatment and artificial life support. Usually, your healthcare representative is the individual authorized to carry out your end of life wishes as detailed in your living will. At Winkler Legal, our Columbus estate planning attorney can help you determine who to delegate as your healthcare power of attorney, and complete a comprehensive living will.
Columbus Trust Attorney
An often misunderstood aspect of estate planning is the use of trusts to avoid probate administration and achieve asset protection. A trust is a legal agreement in which the person creating the trust, known as a “Grantor”, transfers assets to an individual, known as the “Trustee”, to manage the assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. A trust is a safe and secure way to manage your assets during your lifetime and to distribute your assets when you pass. A trust is also a great way to protect assets from the high cost of healthcare and nursing home costs as you age. Whether you’re considering establishing a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust, or need assistance with the process, the Columbus estate planning attorney at Winkler Legal can help. We offer comprehensive trust planning services for individuals and families to prepare for retirement and beyond.
Columbus Special Needs Planning Attorney
Estate planning for loved ones with special needs requires a deep understanding of the available options and choices for those in such situations. From establishing a trust to opening a STABLE account, protecting your loved one’s financial future without jeopardizing Social Security Income benefits or Medicaid eligibility is critical. At Winkler Legal, we understand the challenges of planning for the future of a family member with special needs. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, our Columbus estate planning lawyer can help you navigate the various trusts, programs and choices available.
Whether you’ve been putting off creating an estate plan for a while, or are getting older and want to begin planning for retirement, the Columbus estate planning lawyer at Winkler Legal can help. Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn more.
With knowledge and foresight, we assist our clients in being involved and informed in their unique decision-making process. We offer a wealth of information including videos, detailed blog postings on hot topics, informational articles, and comprehensive seminars to educate our clients. If you have any questions, we offer free consultations to discuss your personal needs.