Tag: Estate Planning

DO I NEED A PRE-NUPTIAL AGREEMENT?

Whether you “need” a Pre-Nuptial Agreement really does depend on your goals.  The basic purpose of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement is to decide in advance what will happen with your assets and debts after you get married.  These Agreements can be tailored to your specific needs and goals.  Do you want the normal provisions of marital law to apply if your marriage ends through legal separation, divorce, or dissolution of marriage?  Do you want laws regarding spousal rights in the event of death to control what happens to your property if you are married at the time of your death?

One of the first things to consider is what will happen if your marriage ends by divorce and you do not have a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.  As a general rule, the property and debts that you had before you got married will remain your separate property and debt when you get divorced.  All assets that you acquire during your marriage are considered marital property, unless you received them as a gift or an inheritance.  The same is true with debts – liabilities that you incur after your marriage that are incurred for a “marital purpose” will also be considered debts of the marriage that both spouses will have to share in the divorce.  With a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, you can agree that any asset or debt that you acquire after you get married will remain your separate asset and your separate debt.

You can also make agreements about what will happen to your property if you are married at the time of your death.  In Ohio, spouses can make a claim to a portion of their deceased spouse’s probate assets, even if the deceased spouse had a Will that left nothing to their surviving spouse.  Surviving spouses also have rights related to the marital residence, the right to administer the estate, and other rights.  You can negate the effects of those legal provisions by agreeing to something different in a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

If you’re thinking of marriage but you’d like to iron out what will happen if the marriage ends in divorce or death, you should consider speaking to an attorney about whether a Pre-Nuptial Agreement is right for you.  But, don’t wait too long.  Some of the basic requirements for a valid Agreement include that it must be in writing, that it is signed prior to the marriage, and that both parties have sufficient time to review the Agreement and get advice from an Attorney.

Thomas Addessa

DISCLAIMER: Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler, LLP presents the information on this web site as a service to Internet users, including members of the public. While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for the particularized advice of an attorney. People seeking specific legal advice or assistance should contact an attorney.

What’s the Difference Between a Last Will and Testament and a Living Will?

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The Last Will and Testament and Living Will are two completely different documents with similar names. Both documents state your intentions, desires and preferences should you become incapacitated or die.  Both documents are recommended as part of a comprehensive estate planning strategy.

 

The Last Will and Testament is a document that takes effect after your death and names who your beneficiaries are, usually family and friends or charities, and who gets your property. Last Will and Testaments can be in the form of a general bequest: “Everything to my spouse, then to my kids equally,” or a specific bequest: “My Warhol painting to my son, James.” Most Wills include a combination of the two.

In a Last Will and Testament, you also appoint an Executor to be in charge and to make sure that all of your wishes are followed. A Last Will and Testament is specific to you and is one of the most important estate planning documents everyone should have. Another option is to invest in a Trust if you have young children who you need to provide for, or if you have substantial assets that you want to keep out of the Probate process. Not sure whether you need just a Last Will and Testament or take the additional step to also create a Trust? Call to set up a consultation at 614-221-0944 and get your individual questions answered.

A Living Will is a health care document. It allows an individual to state their preference about life-sustaining treatment if the situation arose where they were terminally ill or permanently unconscious and can no longer make health care decisions. If the patient has created a Living Will they get to direct whether or not artificially supplied hydration and nutrition and life sustaining treatment is provided.

A Living Will does not affect the right to have pain medicine or comfort care. It simply allows an individual to make the choice now so that their next of kin or the person with power of attorney for health care doesn’t have to guess at what the individual would have wanted want in that situation.

Hannah Botkin-Doty

The Last Will and Testament and Living Will have totally different functions, but they are both essential estate planning documents.  If you have questions or want to learn about the other ways you can make a plan for estate, please do not hesitate to contact me at 614-221-0944 or hlbotkindoty@adwllp.com to get your questions answered.

Hannah Botkin-Doty

 

DISCLAIMER:  Artz, Dewhirst & Wheeler, LLP presents the information on this web site as a service to Internet users, including members of the public. While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for the particularized advice of an attorney.  People seeking specific legal advice or assistance should contact an attorney.