Estates

Wills

Q.: What is a will?

A.: A will is a document that provides for the way in which a person's probate property will be distributed upon death. To be valid, it must meet certain formal requirements as provided by the laws of the state involved.

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Understanding Gift and Estate Taxes

Q.: How much money can I give away each year, and to how many people?

A.: There is no limit to how much you can give away or to the number of people to whom you can give it. But if you give more than $12,000 in money or property to any one person (other than your spouse) in any one calendar year, you will be required to file a federal gift tax return and you will use up part of your "applicable exclusions" from federal gift and estate taxation.

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Trusts Can Benefit Your Grandchildren

You gave your children a great start in life and they are all well established, and you are leaving them your assets to ensure their security later in life.  But, what about your grandchildren?  Would you like to secure their future as well?  It may be easier than you think.

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Transfer On Death Deed Avoids Probate

Q.: Can an individual of limited means transfer real estate, including a house, upon death without creating a trust to do so?

A.: Yes. An Ohio law allows individuals of modest means, who do not need the tax benefits of a trust, to avoid probate on their real estate by creating a Transfer-On-Death (TOD) Deed.

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Sorting Out Housing Options for Seniors

Last week Mom was fine (or so it seemed), but today she is forgetting her medications and the boiling teakettle.  It may be time to consider a move to a care facility, but how do we choose?  There are more options available to day for senior care than there have ever been, but choosing the best option for your situation requires some basic research followed by facility visits and meetings with the staff.

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Probate

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What is probate?

A.: When an Ohio resident dies owning probate property in the state, a legal proceeding to determine the deceased's assets, their value and the method of distribution to heirs is provided for by law. This proceeding is called probate, and it occurs whether the person dies with or without a will. Probate takes place in the probate court of the county where the deceased property owner resided. If the decedent also owned property in another state, additional proceedings may be necessary in that state. Probate property is all property that is not covered by any contract providing for a succession on the death of the owner.

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Ohio's Income Tax on Trusts Is Here To Stay

Ohio’s temporary income tax on trusts expired at the end of 2004.  However, as part of a tax reform bill effective July 1, 2005, the tax is back.  This time, it’s permanent.  The law now requires many trusts to file and pay Ohio income tax.

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Ohioans Can Use Living Will To Express Anatomical Gift Intentions

Q.: I have a living will and a health care power of attorney, and I always take these documents with me to the hospital so the medical staff will know my preferences about medical care if I can’t speak for myself.  I noticed, though, that my documents do not reference my wish to donate any usable organs or tissues if I should die.  Can I include this wish?

A.: Yes.  Legislation that became effective on September 16, 2004 permits you to state within your living will document your intent to donate an anatomical gift (such as organs or tissues) upon your death.  According to the law, living will forms were required to include these provisions by December 15, 2004.

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Nursing Home Access: A Consumer Perspective

Q.: When I sought admission to a local nursing home for my father, the administrator said I had to provide detailed financial information about his assets and income for the previous five years as a condition of admission. Is the nursing home allowed to demand such information?

A.: The nursing home may obtain information necessary to collect payment of its charges from a third party. For instance, the facility can ask if your father is eligible for Medicare or Medicaid or if he has private insurance to cover the cost of his care. The nursing home cannot, however, request personal financial information in order to assure itself that your father is not eligible for Medicaid and will not apply for Medicaid benefits in the near future.

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Medicaid and Married Couples

Q.: My husband had a stroke and his doctor recommends a nursing home placement. My neighbor said the nursing home will take all of our money if I admit my husband. Is that true?

A.: No. A nursing home cannot require you to assign your assets to it as a condition of admitting your husband to the facility.

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