Do It Yourself: Ohio Last Wills & Trusts

By April Kohl

Anyone who wants his property to go to a particular person, or group of people, when he dies needs a will; otherwise the state will distribute the assets according to state law. While an attorney can draft a will on your behalf, this is not a legal necessity and you can write a simple will yourself using a do-it-yourself template for relatively little outlay.

Ohio Will Requirements

The state of Ohio allows anyone 18 years old or more to create a will, but it also recognizes the rights of a minor who has been lawfully married to write her own will. Ohio law requires that a testator be of sound mind when the will is signed before two witnesses. This means the writer must not have been declared incompetent by a court at the time the will was created.

Trust Basics

A trust is formed when a person, called the “grantor,” transfers property into the keeping of another person, known as the “trustee,” for the benefit of one or more third parties, known as “beneficiaries.” Ohio allows the formation of revocable trusts where the grantor transfers his property to the trustee's keeping but retains the ability to change or revoke the trust and to keep the benefit of the property during his lifetime.

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Creating a Trust

While a trust does not have to be formed in writing, having a written document will assist in validating the trust if problems arise later. The document creating a trust has no set form but should state your wishes as grantor clearly, along with the identity of both the beneficiary and the trustee. You should also explain how the trust is to function. Sign the document before two witnesses or a notary public.

Considerations

Creating wills and trusts can be very difficult, especially where the estate is large and complex. Hiring an attorney who specializes in wills and estate law to draft the will and create the trust on your behalf can help avoid the pitfalls that might result if you did it yourself.

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References

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Can a Trustee Revoke or Amend a Revocable Trust in Colorado?

If you are looking for a way for your estate to avoid the costs and complications of a court-supervised probate process after your death, a revocable trust could help. When you put all your assets into a Colorado revocable trust, or living trust, the trust safeguards those assets and pass directly to your beneficiaries upon your death. Revocable trusts give you flexibility because you retain authority to amend or revoke them.

California Law Regarding Revocable Trusts

California residents who want to protect their assets from probate court can draw up a revocable trust -- also known as a living trust. The trust allows you to pass homes, investments and other property to your heirs. The term "revocable" means you can change the terms of the trust or revoke it altogether during your lifetime. Although the trust enables you to avoid probate, the assets are still subject to federal and California income taxes, as well as to estate tax.

Trusts Vs. Last Wills in California

Probating a will can be a long and expensive process depending on the size and complexity of the estate. The cost of probate gets paid directly from the estate, and can deplete some of the estate’s resources and assets. Accordingly, many people choose to use a trust as a legal mechanism to transfer their assets upon death. California state laws regulate both trusts and wills, which have several key differences.

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