ohio basic estate planning

If you have any assets or property, it may be time to think about an estate plan. With a solid plan in place, you can make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after death. Failing to get a plan together may result in your beneficiaries or heirs heading to the probate process. Here is what you need to know about the basics of estate planning in Ohio. 

Make Your Estate Plans

With an estate plan, you can ensure that your property and other assets are safely transferred to your designated beneficiaries. These assets can include cars, houses, real estate, savings accounts, personal possessions, and even investments. 

For this reason, you will want to have a legally binding plan to help with the process. Remember that an estate plan includes several types of documents. Let’s take a look at each one. 


One of the most important pieces of documentation is the will. Within it are specific directions regarding your property distribution and care plans for minor children. If you want the will to be legally binding, it needs to be clearly written, signed, and witnessed. An estate plan that has a will still need to proceed through probate. 

In Ohio, if you don’t have a will, your property will enter into intestate, meaning that the courts will control the distribution of your assets. 


Some people choose to establish a trust. Like a will, these trusts can make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. However, trusts are also used to reduce estate and gift taxes to the beneficiaries. Another benefit is that these assets will pass to your intended heirs without heading through the probate process. 

Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directives

A few more important documents are the power of attorney and healthcare directives. They each serve a direct purpose in an estate plan. With a power of attorney, someone you choose will have the power to act on your behalf for medical care and finances. If you want to be protected in case of mental incapacitation, then choose someone to hold durable powers of attorney. 

Ohio laws allow you to create a healthcare power of attorney or a “living will” that will provide direction regarding medical treatment decisions in situations where you cannot make those choices on your own. 

The Probate Process 

Sometimes, your estate may pass through probate. This court-supervised process gathers the deceased person’s assets, pays debts and taxes, and distributes what’s left to beneficiaries. However, as previously mentioned, by establishing a trust, you can make sure that your assets skip this process. 

Learn More About Estate Planning Basics in Ohio

For many Ohio residents, estate planning involves more than just writing a will. You want to take care of your loved ones and ensure your wishes are followed after you’re gone. If you’re ready to start planning your estate, reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney to guide you through the process.

If you want to learn more about the basics of estate planning in Ohio, reach out to the legal team at Axelrod Law Office in Lake County, OH. Call our office at (440) 271-8126 or submit a contact form to schedule a free, confidential legal consultation.