Atkins and Atkins Attorneys at Law, LLC

An in-depth look at probate

Probate has earned a bad reputation over the years. Many people ask how they can avoid it because they worry about how much time and money it will cost them. 

It is true that there are many myths about probate, but it is possible that the negative reputation comes from people going into it unprepared. This is an easy thing to do, because probate is often the last thing a family wants to go through after losing a loved one. However, a comprehensive look at probate might help Ohio families feel less wary about the process.

Divorce and avoiding financial mistakes

Ohio couples who are planning to get divorced should know that the process can be lengthy and have emotional consequences. They should also be particularly aware of how getting divorced can negatively affect their finances in the present and in the future and of what steps to take to mitigate that impact.

For many people, the time during a divorce can be very emotionally challenging. They may attempt to use spending as a way to cope with what they are feeling. Spending may also be used as a way to celebrate no longer being married. Individuals getting divorced or who are already divorced should take care to reign in their spending, as they may not have the financial resources they had when they were married.

Estate planning details that should not be ignored

Ohio residents should make sure to avoid a few common errors when creating estate plans. For example, some people create a trust and then do not fund it properly. Assets might need to be retitled to be placed in a trust, or there may be some other required procedures. Estate owners should also be aware of assets that cannot be passed using a trust, such as property owned jointly with rights of survivorship.

It's important to consider beneficiary designations as well. Life insurance policies and retirement accounts are among the types of assets that are usually passed using beneficiary designations. Failing to correctly prepare these documents could result in income tax consequences later.

4 ways parents can make divorce, custody easier on children

Divorce can be very difficult on children. Even if the divorce is best for everyone, children can still be sad that their parents no longer live together and fearful about what will happen to their relationship with each parent. They might struggle with anxiety, guilt and confusion, as well.

As parents, you can do a number of things to make situations related to divorce and child custody easier on your children. 

Alimony, child tax deductions changed by TCJA

Tax changes put in place by the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017 will have implications for some Ohio couples who are getting a divorce. Two of the main issues deal with how deductions are taken for children and the treatment of alimony.

Instead of divorced parents being able to take turns claiming the child deduction, there will be a head of household deduction. To get this deduction, a parent must be single, pay more than half of the household expenses and have the child in the home more than half the time. There is also a child tax credit but no clarification from the IRS regarding whether this credit is tradable. Parents can write in the divorce agreement that they will trade this credit if regulation permit it, and this will potentially allow them to both benefit from it.

Financial Powers of Attorney in Ohio

Executing a Financial Power of Attorney may be a wise decision. For married couples, with joint bank accounts (and joint access to manage monies), a financial power of attorney may appear at first less beneficial. Yet there are many other situations, whether married or otherwise, where having a trusted agent acting on your behalf may become both necessary and beneficial.

Ohio Last Will Execution Requirements

When many clients envision what it's like to prepare their wills, they imagine an empty room with their estate planning attorney at a desk signing a document to establish who inherits their property after they die. They get a feeling that invokes both relief and uncertainty for the future.

However, many do not realize that you and your attorney are not the only ones in the room during your will signing. Even if you enjoy having everything privately, Ohio requires you to have two adult witnesses, who are not benefitting from the Last Will, witnessing you sign the necessary documents in their presence. 

As your attorney and members of their firm are not beneficiaries under your Will, they may serve, if you wish, as the witnesses to its signing.

Another common misconception is that Last Wills in Ohio require notarization; they do not.

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Atkins and Atkins Attorneys at Law, LLC

490 City Park Ave.
Columbus, OH 43215-5780

Phone: 614-485-8248
Fax: 614-591-4667
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