Estate Planning Services in Cincinnati, OH: Wills

Planning for the future is a responsibility that many individuals may procrastinate or overlook entirely. However, having a comprehensive estate plan in place is essential for ensuring that your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are provided for after you're gone. At Keller, Barrett & Higgins, located in Cincinnati, Ohio, we understand the importance of effective estate planning, and we specialize in crafting wills that provide clarity, security, and peace of mind for our clients and their families.

Understanding Wills

A will, also known as a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines how an individual's assets and properties should be distributed upon their death. It allows you to specify who will inherit your belongings, including real estate, financial accounts, personal possessions, and more. Additionally, a will enables you to appoint an executor, the person responsible for overseeing the distribution of your estate and ensuring that your wishes are carried out according to the terms outlined in the document.

Types of Wills

When considering estate planning, it's essential to understand the different types of wills available to ensure your wishes are accurately reflected. At Keller, Barrett & Higgins, we offer expertise in crafting various types of wills tailored to your unique circumstances:

  1. Simple Wills: A simple will is the most basic form of testamentary document, suitable for individuals with straightforward estate planning needs. It typically outlines the distribution of assets and appoints guardians for minor children, if applicable.
  2. Pour-Over Wills: A pour-over will is often used in conjunction with a trust-based estate plan. It directs any assets not already transferred to the trust during the grantor's lifetime to "pour over" into the trust upon their death, ensuring comprehensive estate planning.
  3. Testamentary Trust Wills: Testamentary trust wills establish trusts upon the testator's death, allowing for more complex asset distribution strategies. These trusts can provide for minor children, individuals with special needs, or beneficiaries who may benefit from asset protection or tax planning.
  4. Joint Wills: Joint wills are created by two individuals, usually spouses, and dictate how their combined assets will be distributed after both parties have passed away. While joint wills can simplify the estate planning process, they may limit the surviving spouse's ability to alter the terms of the will after the first spouse's death.
  5. Living Wills: Unlike traditional wills that address asset distribution, a living will, also known as an advance directive, outlines an individual's healthcare preferences in the event they become incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes. Living wills typically address end-of-life medical care, resuscitation preferences, and organ donation.
  6. Holographic Wills: A holographic will is a handwritten will created and signed by the testator without witnesses. While holographic wills are valid in some states, including Ohio, they may lead to legal challenges or difficulties in probate court, making them less preferable than formally executed wills.

Understanding the nuances of each type of will is crucial to ensure your estate planning objectives are met effectively. Our experienced attorneys at Keller, Barrett & Higgins are here to provide guidance and assistance in selecting the right type of will to meet your needs and protect your legacy.

The Importance of Having a Will

Having a will is crucial for several reasons. First and foremost, it allows you to have control over the distribution of your assets, ensuring that your property goes to the individuals or organizations you choose. Without a will, state laws, known as intestacy laws, will dictate how your estate is distributed, which may not align with your preferences. By creating a will, you can avoid potential disputes among family members and ensure that your wishes are respected.

Additionally, a will allows you to appoint guardians for your minor children. If you have underage children, a will enables you to designate who will take care of them in the event of your passing. This can provide peace of mind knowing that your children will be cared for by individuals you trust.

Furthermore, a will can help expedite the probate process, the legal process through which a deceased person's assets are distributed. With a valid will in place, the probate court can more easily determine how to distribute your assets, potentially reducing the time and costs associated with probate administration.

Crafting Your Will with Keller, Barrett & Higgins

When you choose Keller, Barrett & Higgins for your estate planning needs, you can trust that you're in good hands. Our experienced attorneys, Whitney Ellison and Ellen Keller, specialize in crafting wills that are tailored to meet the unique needs and objectives of each client. We take the time to understand your individual circumstances, family dynamics, and estate planning goals to create a customized plan that reflects your wishes and protects your assets.

Our comprehensive approach to estate planning goes beyond simply drafting a will. We provide guidance on important decisions, such as choosing an executor, appointing guardians for minor children, and addressing tax considerations. Additionally, we can assist with updating and revising your will as your circumstances change over time, ensuring that your estate plan remains current and effective.

Why Choose Keller, Barrett & Higgins for Your Will?

There are many reasons to choose Keller, Barrett & Higgins for your estate planning needs. Here are just a few:

  1. Experience and Expertise: With decades of combined experience, our attorneys have the knowledge and skill to handle even the most complex estate planning matters.
  2. Personalized Service: We understand that every client is unique, and we take a personalized approach to estate planning, tailoring our services to meet your specific needs and goals.
  3. Compassionate Guidance: Planning for the future can be emotional and overwhelming, but you don't have to go through it alone. We provide compassionate guidance and support to help you navigate the estate planning process with confidence.
  4. Responsive Communication: We believe in open and transparent communication with our clients. We're here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and keep you informed every step of the way.
  5. Comprehensive Solutions: Our firm offers a full range of estate planning services, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and more. Whatever your needs may be, we have the expertise to help you create a comprehensive estate plan that protects your interests and provides for your loved ones.

Schedule Your Consultation Today

Don't wait until it's too late to start planning for the future. Contact Keller, Barrett & Higgins today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys. Let us help you create a will that reflects your wishes, protects your assets, and provides for your loved ones for years to come.

Whitney Ellison & Ellen Keller (Left to Right)

Quick Facts

What is a will and why is it important?

   A will, often called a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets distributed after you die. It's crucial because it allows you to have a say in what happens to your belongings, ensuring your loved ones are taken care of according to your wishes.

What happens if someone dies without a will?

   If someone dies without a will, their assets will be distributed according to the intestacy laws of their state or country. This means the government decides who gets what, which might not align with your wishes. It can also lead to lengthy legal processes and disputes among family members.

Do I need a lawyer to create a will?

   While it's not a legal requirement to have a lawyer create your will, it's highly recommended, especially if your situation is complex or if you want to ensure your will is legally binding and accurately reflects your wishes.

What should be included in a will?

   A will should include details about who you want to inherit your assets, who you appoint as executor (the person responsible for carrying out your wishes), and who should be the guardian for any minor children.

Can I change my will once it's created?

   Yes, you can absolutely change your will. Life circumstances change, so it's important to review and update your will regularly to reflect any major life events such as marriage, divorce, births, deaths, or changes in financial status.

How often should I update my will?

   It's a good idea to review your will every few years, or whenever there's a significant change in your life circumstances. This ensures that your will remains up-to-date and accurately reflects your wishes.