Death is inevitable and none of us want our assets going into the hands of the state. Without the proper safeguards in place, the state is given the power to distribute your assets however a Probate Court judge sees fit. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods to prevent such a disastrous outcome and maintain power over your assets even after you’re gone.
A Jointly Owned Asset is property shared by two or more tenants. In Ohio, a Joint Tenancy must be owned equally by all tenants. When one joint tenant dies, his share of the asset automatically passes to the remaining tenants. While probate will be unnecessary to transfer the property upon one joint tenant’s death, legal documentation is required to show the property is owned solely by the surviving tenant.
Writing a Living Trust is also an alternative to drafting a Last Will. A Living Trust places your property and assets in a trust which is managed by a trustee for the benefit of your beneficiaries. A Living Trust avoids probate altogether because the real property and other assets are already placed in the trust account. A Living Trust avoids the costs of writing a will and other court fees associated with properly recording it. If a Last Will was drafted instead, such fees would be taken out of the estate.
A Transfer-On-Death Affidavit is a legal document that conveys the clear intent of the owner of real property to transfer his property to another upon his death. While more than one beneficiaries may be designated, each must be by name. Therefore, a transfer-on-death affidavit stating “my children” as the beneficiaries would be invalid. Should the sole beneficiary pass before the owner of the real property, the property would then pass along to the contingent beneficiaries.
Not every method is compatible for everyone. Every situation is different, and no two people have the same needs or want the same thing, so it is crucial that you consult an attorney before making any final decisions. Call us today to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you make the right choice for your family.