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Estate planning: the will and its benefits

Many people in Ohio know they need an estate plan, but do not know where to start. Those who are unfamiliar with the process can find estate planning overwhelming. There are often numerous legal documents involved, and major decisions regarding health care and to whom assets should be left need to be made. For many, this causes them to simply procrastinate, putting off the whole process until a later time. Unfortunately, far too many individuals never get around to creating an estate plan, which can cost their loved one's a significant amount of time, money, and heartache.

That is why it is advisable to start estate planning early and revisit it often. One simple step to take that can help one ease into the estate planning process is to create a will. A will essentially spells out who will receive an individual's property upon his or her death. Although these documents can be extremely complicated, they can also be very simple in nature. The complexity depends upon how, exactly, an individual wants to leave his or her estate.

A will carries many benefits. First of all, since it lays out a plan for how property will be distributed upon one's passing, it allows an estate to avoid being subject to the laws of intestate succession, which is the process in which the state determines who gets what in the absence of a will. Second, a will can allow an individual to avoid having property pass to an individual who he or she does not want to receive property. Third, a will can eliminate any confusion as to how property should be passed, which can diminish the risk of litigation over the estate.

Many wills do wind up being contested, though, which is why they need to be drafted in a way that is clear and legally valid. The law requires that will meet certain legal elements, and failing to do so can render the entire document void. Therefore, those seeking to execute a will need to ensure they have met all the legal requirements, so the final document will be enforceable.

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