Helping Clients Navigate a Complex World...

Epling Law Office, LLC

By Aaron B. Epling, Esq.

          If you live in Ohio and want to do estate planning, consider yourself as lucky as those who live in Maine and want to eat lobster.  Ohio has some of the friendliest estate planning laws for its residents.  Here's a list of the most important reasons why Ohio is on the cutting edge of estate planning...


​          Ohio law allows you to add a beneficiary to almost anything including your bank accounts, stocks, an LLC, real estate and automobiles; easily putting Ohio in the top 10% of states.  Adding a beneficiary to these assets allows them to pass to a beneficiary without the hassle of going through the probate process.  This saves your estate time and money.  In other "meaner" states, residents must setup a trust to avoid probate and setting up a trust can cost a lot of money; especially in attorney fees.  Avoiding probate is a major goal for many and Ohio makes it easier than almost any other state.    


​          Ohio repealed it's estate tax effective 2013.  This means the only estate tax that concerns Ohio residents  is the federal estate tax.  Since the federal estate tax exemption is over $5 Million per person, and almost $11 Million for a couple who utilize the newer portability election, Ohio residents with less than $5 Million (or couples with less than $11 Million) don't need to worry about estate taxes AT ALL!


​          Ohio's Legacy Trust Act is one of the best domestic asset protection trusts in the country.  Here's an example to illustrate the powerful effects: Paul is a physician and wants to make sure he never loses his house if he gets sued for malpractice.  Under the Ohio Legacy Trust Act, Paul can put his house into the domestic asset protection trust and, even if he has a judgment against him for more money than he could ever pay, his house is protected and he may be able to continue living there.  Several restrictions apply making Ohio's domestic asset protection trust inappropriate for many.  But, those who need it are lucky to live in Ohio!


​          For POA's executed after 2012, Ohio law gives more protection to the elderly against fraud, abuse, and undue influence than ever before.  The big idea is that the new statute invalidates many of the most dangerous powers a person can convey to their POA agent unless they are specifically mentioned in the document (this only applies to documents executed after March 22, 2012).  These powers allow the agent to effectively change the principal's estate plan and include the ability to make gifts, change beneficiary designations and create/modify/terminate a trust.  


          Since 1991, Ohio has allowed those who setup a trust for somebody else's benefit to include "spendthrift" language that effectively protects that money from the beneficiary's own creditors.  For example, Frank has a ne'er-do-well son, Skip, who he wants to provide for but fears that Skip will squander the money.  Frank can setup a spendthrift trust with provisions providing for Skip's cost of living and, if Skip gets sued or goes bankrupt, the trust will not pay his creditors and, therefore, the principal will be preserved for the other beneficiaries...Skip's children or other descendants of Frank.  Even responsible children can be candidates for a spendthrift trust if they are in occupations that create liability (like the medical field) or if they may one day get divorced.

For these reasons and many more, consider yourself lucky to live in Ohio!! 

Call us today at 614-876-3863 to arrange a free consultation.


Five Reasons why Ohio is Great for Estate Planning