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Trusts as estate planning tools

Most Ohio residents automatically think of a will when it comes time to plan their estates. Wills allow testators to name who they want to receive their property when they pass on, but they are limited in some ways. Upon the death of a testator, beneficiaries will receive their bequests in one distribution. With a trust, people can have a lot more flexibility.

Trusts give people a variety of options for how assets are doled out to their heirs. When a trust is created, it is funded, which is when assets are put in the trust. The trust will also have named beneficiaries, and these are the individuals who will have access to or benefit from the assets put into the trust.

A trustee is put in charge of the trust. The trustee manages the assets in the trust and ensures that they are doled out according to the directions in the document. Trusts can be set up so that assets are only available to beneficiaries after a certain amount of time or after they meet certain criteria, such as turning 18 or getting married.

Wills and trusts are just two of many types of estate planning tools. Along with documents that determine who will get someone's property and how, there are documents that allow trusted individuals to act in someone's stead. Powers of attorney allow these agents to make choices for people like what type of medical care they will receive and how their finances should be handled if they become incapacitated and thus incapable of making those decisions. An attorney can make recommendations as to what else might be appropriate based upon a client's particular set of circumstances.

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