Estates

Make Sure Your Assets Go To Intended Beneficiaries

Q.: I just joined a company that offers a 401(k) plan. In looking over the material, I noticed a “beneficiary designation” form. What, exactly, is that?

A.: A beneficiary designation is a document that identifies who is to receive the proceeds of the 401(k) upon your death. Life insurance, individual retirement accounts and other qualified plans proceeds also pass according to a beneficiary designation. Most beneficiary designations allow the owner to select a primary beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary. The primary beneficiary receives the proceeds upon the death of the owner. The contingent beneficiary receives the proceeds if the primary beneficiary is not living.

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Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney

Q.: What is a living will declaration?

A.: A living will is a legal document you can use to express your wishes about the use of life-sustaining treatment if you should become terminally ill or permanently unconscious.  A living will:

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Living Trusts

Q.: What is a living trust?

A.: A "living trust" is a trust that is funded with assets and that can be amended and revoked by the person creating the trust. The person creating the trust, often called the "settlor" or the "grantor," typically retains all the benefits to the property placed into the trust. The grantor can also be the trustee in Ohio, although the grantor's spouse or a trust company also often serves as trustee. The terms of a living trust are established in a written agreement signed by the grantor and the trustee. A living trust can be funded with bank accounts, stocks and bonds, a home and other assets. The terms of the living trust should provide for the disposition of the property in the trust both during the life and following the death of the grantor.

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Dying Without a Will

Q.: What does it mean when someone dies "intestate"?

A.: When someone dies without leaving a will to spell out how they want their money and property (called their "estate") to be distributed to survivors, that is called dying "intestate."

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Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Orders

In Ohio there are several legally recognized ways for you to give doctors and other health care providers instructions about the medical treatment you wish to receive (or do not wish to receive)—before you actually need the care. You may have heard about advance directives such as living wills and health care powers of attorney. Ohio law also recognizes another tool to help you and your physician do effective health care planning for the end of life. It is called a DNR order.

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Ask Questions When Pre-Paying for Funerals

Q.: What is a pre-need funeral contract?

A.: Generally, a pre-need funeral contract refers to the purchase of funeral goods and services before they are needed. Nationally, approximately one-third of funerals are arranged and purchased ahead of time.

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Ask Questions To Decide if a Living Trust is Right for You

Trusts can be useful for protecting and transferring your assets. The key is understanding when a trust is appropriate for your individual situation, and then to find a reputable person to prepare the documents.

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Administering an Estate Without a Will

Q.: What does it mean when someone dies intestate?

A.: When someone dies without leaving a will to spell out how his or her money and property (called an estate) is to be distributed to survivors, that is called dying intestate.

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