Having a will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. A will is one of the fundamental documents of an estate plan. An estate plan is simply your instructions stating who gets what you have and when they are to receive it. Whether you have drafted documents or not, everyone has an estate plan. If you do not draft your own plan, your assets will pass to your family through the plan the State of Ohio has set forth in the Ohio Revised Code.

When to plan Too many people do not plan at all. In fact, a majority of Americans do not have a will. If you do not already have a will or estate plan, you are not alone. If you are one of those without a will, the time to plan is now.

If you do have a will in place, it may be a good time to review your plan. I generally recommend clients review their documents every couple of years, but it is especially important after major life events, such as a recent marriage, divorce, new baby, or the purchase of real estate.

 Minor children It is particularly important to plan if you have minor children. A will lets you express who you want to take care of your children. Without a will, the probate court will choose someone for you. Having a will allows you select the person you want to raise or children.

 An estate plan starts with a will I find that most clients have a general idea of the various documents, but few know the specifics. I take the time to clearly explain the documents that I recommend for a full estate plan and walk you through your options. Everyone needs a will, but I also generally recommend additional documents, such as a durable power of attorney, health care power of attorney, living will, and potentially a living trust. I will explain the role that each document plays in your comprehensive estate plan and why you may want to consider each document.

 Peace of mind Having a plan in place, with your specific instructions, provides peace of mind that your family is protected. Tomorrow is never promised. It is too easy to procrastinate on this vital task.

Get started The first step is to call, text (513) 815-7006 or email (mccarthy@danmccarthylaw.com) me. I will provide you with a short questionnaire to gather basic family information. I typically meet with my clients at least twice. At the first meeting, we discuss your family’s needs and options. I explain the various documents and make recommendations based on your specific situation. I then take your information and craft your plan. We will then meet to thoroughly review the documents and sign. The entire process can be accomplished in as little as a couple of weeks. I look forward to hearing from you and helping your family.