Estate Planning

Estate Planning wealth management asset protection health care directives tax planning and related mattersEstate planning attorneys can help you plan for the future through the creation of Wills, Trusts, Guardianship, and other strategies.

At Dagger Law, we have been assisting families with planning for the future of their surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, and sometimes great grandchildren, since 1902. After all, that is why you need an estate plan; to take care of your loved ones after you are no longer able, and to ensure that your legacy lives on as you had envisioned it. 

Attorneys who practice in estate planning assist clients and family members with:

  • Estate tax planning
  • gift tax strategies
  • Preparing documents such as wills and trusts to govern your assets and specify your wishes
  • Wealth management
  • Asset protection
  • Health care directives
  • Power of Attorney
  • Tax planning
  • Planning for the costs of a funeral, and related matters
  • Evaluating life insurance needs

FAQs regarding Estate Planning:

Q: What is the difference between a Will and a Trust?

A: When planning your estate, the main difference that could influence whether you want to establish a Will, or a Trust, is that a Will is implemented upon death and a Trust takes effect as soon as it is created. 

Q: What is an estate?

A: An Estate is the term used to describe all the assets a person owns. Typically we think of estates as being made up of money, real estate also known as real property, automobiles, and other similar items. Whether you own a little, or a lot, Dagger Law recommends creating legal documents, such as a Will or a Trust, to protect your assets. It is also important to remember that after you have met with a lawyer to draft your estate planning documents, there will need to be periodic reviews. We have found that life has a funny way of slowly adding up little changes in real property and assets, until you look back and see how large the total change has been. Most of these come in the form of new minor children or grandchildren, additional assets such as the purchase of new jewelry, the replacement of assets like buying a new car to replace one that has broken down, the sale or purchase of a home, and other similar life events. 

Q: What is Probate?

A: Simply put, this is the legal process of officially proving a Will in a Probate Court. It is a judicial process to evaluate what assets are in an estate, who the beneficiaries are, who is responsible for distributing the estate to the beneficiaries, and then legally transferring the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries. As you can probably infer from reading that list, assets being distributed only happens after all the other items have been determined. If there are disagreements, then the process could take some time to resolve those disagreements. This is why a clear estate planning document, prepared by an experienced attorney, is important. A properly prepared Will, or Trust, can help shorten the probate period, or eliminate probate altogether as in the case of a Trust.

Q: What happens if I dies and don’t have a Will or Trust established?

A: When a resident dies without having made a last will and testament, intestacy succession laws apply under Ohio Law, found in Title 21 of the Ohio Revised Code. If a person does die intestate, these Title 21 laws dictate succession of the deceased person’s estate. 

Q: How does a Trust eliminate the probate period? 

A: While a Trust does eliminate the need to probate an estate, in most circumstances, it might be better to think of a Trust as simply changing when the probate process happens. Because a Trust takes effect immediately upon execution, the work of making all those determinations about assets and beneficiaries happens early on in the process and may need to be revisited as circumstances change. Upon death, the executed Trust remains in effect rather than starting the process of becoming effective. This typically speeds up the time that it takes for beneficiaries to have access to the assets left to them. 

Q: What is the cost difference between a Will and a Trust?

A:It is more expensive to establish a Trust, but tends to be less costly once a death occurs. By comparison, a Will is a cost effective means by which you can record your intentions, but can require more work (and thus more cost) once the probate process begins.

Q: How do you find the right attorney for your needs?

A: The advice and direction of your estate planning attorney will be essential to implementing an estate plan that both disposes of your assets according to your wishes and meets your other objectives. In 2018, Dagger Law handled an average of ten new estate planning cases per month. We have seen both modest and very large estates, and pride ourselves on handling both with professionalism and a respect for your hard earned assets. While we have helped to create many estate plans over the years, there is no such thing as a cookie cutter format that suits every person’s need. It is our belief that Dagger Law can offer the proper mix of broad experience and customized planning that will ensure that your estate plan has you covered from every angle.

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Q: Will an attorney travel to me, or do I need to come to your offices in either Lancaster or Canal Winchester? 

A: While some meetings will need to be held in our offices, we do try to minimize your travel time by offering two convenient locations in both Lancaster and Canal Winchester, Ohio. It is our goal to minimize the disruption to your life caused by legal issues, and many communications or meetings can be conducted through emails or phone calls. In certain circumstances, such as being hospitalized or confined to a bed, we realize that it isn’t possible for clients to physically get to our offices. In these circumstances we will evaluate whether a visit to your location may be required. If a Dagger Law attorney is retained to represent you, they will travel to the necessary court hearings and legal procedures in order to represent you, anywhere in Ohio! Please note that in some instances the cost to represent your case may require an unusual amount of money due to travel expenses. In such cases, we may recommend using legal representation closer to the location of your case. We are happy to provide referrals in these instances, if we are able. 

Whether you reside in Columbus, Lancaster or elsewhere in Central Ohio, we have a convenient location near you! Check out the nearest location to you by clicking Our Locations Page.

Contact one of these Dagger Law attorneys for assistance with your estate planning needs.