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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Can a Trustee Be a Beneficiary in Illinois?

References

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Last Wills & Trusts Questions

Last wills and trusts are two ways to pass your property to your chosen beneficiaries after your death. Last wills and trusts can be used separately or together. Answering some basic questions about last wills and trusts can help you understand what kind of estate planning is best for you and your family. Although an attorney's help is not required to create a valid will or trust, it is wise to consult an attorney when doing your estate planning.

How to Terminate Blind Trusts

A blind trust is a special type of trust where the beneficiaries are unaware of the trust's assets and a designated trustee has full authority to manage the trust, including the purchase, sale and exchange of its assets. Politicians and corporate officers often set up blind trusts to avoid conflicts of interest and public scrutiny. In some states, it is legal for a lottery winner to set up a blind trust so that he can anonymously claim his winnings. A trust creator, called the settlor, can set up his blind trust as either a revocable or irrevocable trust. If the blind trust is set up as a revocable trust, the settlor can terminate the trust by following the revocation procedure set forth in either the trust agreement or state statutes. While revoking an irrevocable trust is not always impossible, the process is difficult as it usually requires court approval and consent of all the trust beneficiaries. Common reasons a settlor may want to terminate his blind trust include a change in financial circumstances, unhappiness with the trust’s beneficiaries or desire to shelter trust assets from tax authorities.

Trusts & Last Wills in the State of Oklahoma

Estate planning helps individuals who own assets control how those assets are disposed of upon their death. There are two primary vehicles for estate planning: a will and a living trust, sometimes simply called a trust. Oklahoma has specific rules on how to properly use both types of estate planning.

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