A common miss conception is that only those with lots of money should have an estate plan. Yes, farmers who would like a son or daughter to be able to continue farming the farm do need to do estate planning. Yes, those with assets over a million dollars need an estate plan.
However, it is also important for the less wealthy to understand how they title their car, life insurance, retirement plan, bank accounts, etc., as such is also part of their estate plan. Those less wealthy also would like for the sentimental items to be passed onto those heirs who most value them.
So that the common and elderly person can understand the basic concepts of estate planning, a series of fact sheets called “Basic Estate Planning Fact Sheet Series” has been developed. The fact sheet series is written for the common person in an easy to understand manner and is in large print. Questions are provided at the end of each fact sheets along with answers.
The authors of this fact sheet series are me (Jim Skeeles) and Russell Cunningham, an attorney in the Columbus vicinity certified by the Ohio State Bar Association in Estate Planning Trust and Probate Law. We the authors hope people will settle down in an easy chair, take one fact sheet at a time, read it, fill out the response sheet (with your spouse if married), then compare it with our answers at the end of the fact sheet. Our contact information is on each fact sheet in case people have questions, concerns, or differ with the answers provided.
This fact sheet series is intended to introduce people to basic concepts needed to develop an estate plan. Therefore, these fact sheets are in no way, shape, or form intended to replace legal counsel. In fact, it is our hope that after reading the fact sheets people will have a better understanding of what they want in an estate plan and as a result visit their attorney to initiate the plan.
The fact sheets are intended to help people understand the concepts needed to arrange for the well-being of loved ones and self while living and after death. For many, especially for those less wealthy, personal relationships are more important than financial considerations. In fact, for many of us, more money doesnt increase happiness. The same may be true of your heirs. Therefore, the emphasis of the fact sheets is not only financial matters but also personal considerations. A successful estate plan not only provides for retirement while passing the largest possible estate to loved ones, but also does this in a way that the people are friends through the process and after the estate is settled.
There are twelve different fact sheets that cover the following topics: 1) Introduction, including objectives such as treating children equally or equitably, continuing a viable business, liquidity needed, preserving equity and investment or using up assets during retirement, 2) Costs Involved in Transferring Estate, 3) Tax Basis for Transferred Property, 4) Wills, 5) Letter of Instruction, 6) Life Insurance, 7) Trusts, 8) Giving, 9) Sale of Residence, 10) Nursing Home Dilemma, 11) Medicare and Medigap, 12) Generation-Skipping Trusts, Limited Liability Companies, Conservation/Agricultural Easements.
The fact sheets can be downloaded for free from the OSU Extension web site, ohioline.osu.edu by clicking on the fact shee link on the left side of the page, then on the “Basic Estate Planning Series” link, the 11th link from the top. The direct link to the fact sheets is: http://ohioline.osu.edu/ep-fact/index.html
Another excellent workbook to help with the allocation of sentimental items is “Who Gets Grandma’s Yellow Pie Plate?” A description of this workbook is available at:
If one does not have web access or is not computer savvy, the OSU Extension Office, Hocking County will reproduce the fact sheets, place them in a three ring notebook and mail the twelve fact sheets. Also, the Who Gets Grandmas Yellow Pie Plate Workbook can be included.
The twelve fact sheets in a three ring notebook are $30 (for over 100 pages) and $8 for the Workbook (95 pages). To order send check and address to OSU Extension, Hocking County, 150 N. Homer Ave., Logan, OH 43138.