Estate Planning for Families

Who needs a will?  In short, anyone with either property or kids.  I have talked to many people who have the best of intentions of finally drafting a will.  But it is very easy to put off drafting a will until tomorrow.  Tomorrow becomes next week, which becomes next month, which becomes next year.  A proper estate plan is essential for families, particularly for parents with minor children.   A will is not the only document necessary.  A short summary of documents necessary for most families is below.  Please note that there is no one size fits all document.  I encourage you to call me to tailor a complete estate plan to meet your individual needs. 

When I meet with parents with minor children, I typically recommend the following documents:

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENTa will directs the distribution of probate assets upon death.  A will also identifies who you want to serve as the executor of the estate.  Parents also can identify who they want to serve as guardians of their minor children if something happens to both parents.  This is probably the most important reason for parents with young children to execute a will.  The probate court will ultimately appoint a guardian for children if both parents pass away, but parents should clearly identify who they want to care for their children in the event a guardian becomes necessary.

REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST: a living trust is a very useful device to manage property.  Trusts can be intimidating.  But the basics are not complicated.  In a trust, the owner (grantor) transfers property to a trustee.  The trustee manages the property for someone identified as a beneficiary.  Property placed into a revocable trust is generally not subject to the probate process.  Parents can also instruct that assets be distributed to their kids at staggered times.  Under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act, in Ohio, children can receive assets once they reach age 21.  But in a trust, a parent can pass part of their assets once the children obtain specific ages, such as 1/3 at age 21, 1/3 at age 25, and the remainder at age 30.  But trusts are also very flexible and can be drafted to suit your needs and wishes.  

LIVING WILL AND HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY: a living will allows the signer to state their intentions regarding withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining medical treatment, including CPR, when they are no longer competent to make informed medical decisions.  A living will becomes the way a person communicates their wishes when the patient is in a terminal condition and can no longer make informed decisions.

The health care power of attorney designates an attorney in fact to make health care decisions when the patient is unable to communicate his or her wishes.  The attorney in fact generally has the authority to give informed consent, refuse to give informed consent, and to withdraw informed consent for any medical treatment.

DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY: this document is intended to cover your financial matters in the event you cannot handle them yourself.  A durable power of attorney helps the management of a person’s affairs during periods of incompetence without the necessity of seeking an order from the Probate Court.  

Contact McCarthy Law Office for a free initial consultation about your estate planning needs. Whether you have an existing estate plan that you have not looked at in years or if you have never created a Will of any sort, I will review the proper documents and make the process as painless as possible.

Family Estate Planning Blog Article

Family Estate Planning in Cincinnati, Ohio

Total Car Accidents Down in Ohio, but Deaths Rise?

According to this article on cincinnati.com, the total number of car crashes in Ohio is down about 25% in 2020. This is largely due to reduced driving during the pandemic. https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2020/07/26/coronavirus-ohio-despite-less-traffic-fatal-crashes-higher-than-2019/5427913002/ However, the number of deaths caused by car crashes is actually up. The expected reason: increased speed. Please slow down.

Even if you are hit by an uninsured driver, you may have coverage through your own car insurance policy. Please contact me if you or a loved one is in a car accident. McCarthy Law Office can help you recover for your injuries and damages.

McCarthy Law Office Announces New West Side Office and Revamped Website

McCarthy Law Office Announces New West Side Office and Revamped Website

To better serve our clients, McCarthy Law Office is pleased to announce a new office located at 7595 Bridgetown Road, Suite 200. To those familiar with the area, this is the intersection of Bridgetown Road and Shady Lane. This provides a convenient location for client meetings with ample parking. We will maintain our current office downtown as well.

Further, please visit our new and improved website at danmccarthylaw.com. The new site provides greater detail and explanation of our practice areas, which include:

  • Personal injury, including car, motorcycle, and trucking accidents.
  • Estate planning, drafting of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, and health care powers of attorney.
  • Real estate and civil litigation.

We welcome referrals and appreciate your confidence. Please call 513-815-7006 or email mccarthy@danmccarthylaw.com to schedule a meeting.

 

 

Planning, Preparing and Signing Wills During Covid-19

Ohio extended its Stay at Home Order until at least May 1st. The global pandemic caused by Covid-19, also known as the Coronavirus, has heightened many clients’ interest in completing their wills and estate plans. I have received many questions from clients about the execution of estate planning documents while complying with the Stay at Home Order and social distancing requirements.

QUESTION: ARE YOU STILL TAKING ON NEW CLIENTS?

ANSWER: Yes. I am happy to accept new clients or work with existing clients who are interested in setting up or revising their estate plan. I am currently available to meet with clients virtually from the safety and convenience of their own home, while also complying with the orders from the State of Ohio, the City of Cincinnati, and Hamilton County.

QUESTION: WHAT IS REQUIRED TO EXECUTE A WILL IN OHIO?

ANSWER: Many states are working on electronic or remote signing laws. But in Ohio, the law today requires, “The will shall be signed at the end by testator…. The will shall be attested and subscribed in the conscious presence of the testator, by two or more competent witnesses, who saw the testator subscribe…. For purposes of this section, ‘conscious presence’ means within the range of any of the testator’s senses, excluding the sense of sight or sound that is senses by telephonic, electronic, or other distant communication.” R.C. 2197.03

QUESTION: WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS FOR DRAFTING AND WITNESSING WILLS DURING COVID-19

ANSWER: There are several steps in estate planning process.:

  1. Initial meeting. For the first meeting, we can talk over the phone or use FaceTime or Zoom to host a video conference.

  2. Information gathering. I use a detailed Estate Planning Questionnaire to help gather the necessary and relevant information. I will email or mail you my questionnaire, which can be completed as a fillable-PDF or you can handwrite the information. You can either email or mail the completed questionnaire back to me.

  3. Document drafting. I will then take your information and complete a draft of the documents. I can securely email you the draft documents for your review.

  4. Will signing. I will ensure that appropriate social distancing of at least 6 feet is used at all times. There are several options for the actual signing. For example, the clients may be on the other side of a glass door or window, in the safety and comfort of their own home. If a glass separation is not possible, we can meet on a driveway or front porch, place the documents in a central location, and essentially take turns signing. The client signs while the witnesses are a safe distance apart, then the clients steps back and the witnesses each safely sign.

QUESTION: WHAT OTHER DOCUMENTS ARE IMPORTANT?

ANSWER: A full estate plan is more than a simple will. Depending on your circumstances, it could also include a Revocable Living Trust. I recommend that everyone, no matter your family situation, should have the following in place:

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney: This allows you to select an agent to make and communicate healthcare decisions if you are not able to do so yourself.

  • Living Will: This works hand-in-hand with the Healthcare Power of Attorney, but largely involves end of life decisions. It allows you to instruct your agent about your specific desires and preferences.

  • Durable Financial Power of Attorney: This allows you to appoint an agent to help with your financial affairs, including paying your bills, managing your money, and talking to your banks and financial institutions.

QUESTION: HOW BEST TO CONTACT ME?

ANSWER: Like millions of other Americans, I am largely working remotely now. But I am available by phone or text at 513-815-7006, or by email at mccarthy@danmccarthylaw.com. Please contact me to help with your planning needs.

Time to Act: Essential Estate Planning in Ohio

Time to Act: Essential Estate Planning in Ohio

Nobody wants to talk about their potential demise. But it is a necessary process. I make estate planning as painless as possible and will explain the entire process in easy to understand language without judgment. My job is to help you create documents that will take care of your needs and to give you peace of mind.

An estate plan is necessary for everyone, regardless of income or assets to minimize costs, confusion, and stress for loved ones after a death. Your estate plan should contain the following:

1. Last Will. While everyone should have a will, this is just one of the fundamental building blocks of a complete estate plan. In your will, you will direct who receives your property and assets. This is also where parents with minor children appoint a guardian in case both parents die while the children are minors.

 2. Living Trust. A living trust, like a will, can dispose of your property upon death. But unlike a will, a trust can help avoid probate. Why avoid probate? Doing so reduces costs, transfers assets in a more timely manner, and keeps your affairs private. A living trust is particularly beneficial for those with minor children, out-of-state assets, or blended families.

 3. Durable Power of Attorney. A durable power of attorney allows someone else to make financial and legal decisions if a person becomes hospitalized, disabled, or otherwise incapacitated.

4. Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will. These two documents work together to give a loved one the power to make medical decisions if you are unable to do so yourself. You give your agent specific directions and instructions about your medical wishes. The difference between the two is that a living will involves end of life decisions only.

4. Updated beneficiary forms. Beneficiary designation forms on life insurance policies, 401(k) accounts and other assets will generally override any conflicting provisions in a will or trust. It is essential to make sure all beneficiary designation forms are checked and regularly updated.

Please call me at 513-815-7006 or email me at mccarthy@danmccarthylaw.com so I can help your family.

Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio

Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio

Despite widespread belief to the contrary, asbestos is not banned and remains legal in the United States. Exposure to asbestos takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year and leaves countless others with lifetime illnesses, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Filing an asbestos lawsuit is not a simple process, even under the best of conditions. No amount of money can buy a cure, but a lawsuit can help with medical bills and help ease the worry that medical bills are taking all of your family’s budget.

If you or someone in your family is suffering from asbestos exposure, you may be eligible to receive compensation from the manufacturers of asbestos products that cause mesothelioma and other diseases. McCarthy Law Office represents clients on a “contingency” basis, which means we will only collect a fee if you collect a settlement and we will help evaluate your case for free.

Please contact McCarthy Law Office at 513-815-7006 or mccarthy@danmccarthyalw.com for more information or to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your potential asbestos claim.