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  1. 1. Legal Readiness Brief Staff Judge Advocate 180th Fighter Wing Swanton, Ohio
  2. 2. Wills <ul><li>A will is a document that courts </li></ul><ul><li>will give legal effect to express a </li></ul><ul><li>deceased person’s (“decedent’s”) </li></ul><ul><li>intentions concerning the </li></ul><ul><li>disposition of property and </li></ul><ul><li>processing of the decedent’s </li></ul><ul><li>estate. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Benefits of Having a Will <ul><li>Personalize disposition of property </li></ul><ul><li>Nominate executor of your choice </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize expense </li></ul><ul><li>Expedite probate </li></ul><ul><li>Nominate guardian of minor children </li></ul><ul><li>Establish testamentary trust to manage property left to minor children </li></ul>
  4. 4. Will or No Will? <ul><li>If a decedent dies without a will, the law of the decedent’s state of residence at time of death will determine what happens to the decedent’s property and what procedures must be followed. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Will or No Will? <ul><li>Without a will, most state laws, including Ohio, pass property to nearest surviving relatives based on presumptions of “normal” person’s wishes. </li></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not married, no children, to decedent’s parents equally. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Married, no children, all to spouse. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Single, with children, to children equally. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Married, with children, minimum amount to spouse, then some form of sharing between spouse and children. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Will or No Will? <ul><li>Not true, as some believe, that estate goes to state if decedent dies without a will. </li></ul><ul><li>That occurs only if decedent dies leaving no known living relatives. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Will or No Will? <ul><li>Evaluate your current situation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will: Express your wishes as to who should receive your property, who should handle your property, who should care for your minor children, minimize expenses of administration by waiving certain formalities and costs. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have no will: no expression of personal wishes, your estate may incur additional expenses for estate processing safeguards that might have been unnecessary, such as administrator’s bond and court approvals that you could waive in a will. </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Will or No Will? <ul><li>Evaluate your current situation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Outdated will: legally binding statement of your intentions that, if different from your current wishes, may be worse than not having one. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Will or No Will? <ul><li>Having a will is especially important to those with minor children to express preferences for their care and financial security </li></ul><ul><li>Even more so if you are divorced from or never married the other parent, to ensure control of property left to children by someone you trust </li></ul>
  10. 10. Will or No Will? <ul><li>It does not hurt, and almost always helps, for anyone to have a will that reflects his or her current wishes for disposition of property and processing of the estate. </li></ul>
  11. 11. What the Will does, and does not, do <ul><li>Will does control disposition and estate process of “probate” property - property you own at the time of your death that is not already subject to terms of transfer upon death </li></ul>
  12. 12. What the Will does, and does not, do <ul><li>Will does not control disposition or process of “non-probate” property – property that is already controlled by terms of contractual or other legally controlling dispositions. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Probate/Non-Probate Examples <ul><li>PROBATE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Property owned by deceased </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs court to transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Will controls disposition & procedure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Statutory law controls if no will </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: Vehicles, real estate, bank or investment accounts in name of decedent only </li></ul></ul><ul><li>NON-PROBATE </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passes on death “automatically” without probate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contractual obligation to transfer, e.g. life insurance, joint or payable on death bank accounts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Survivorship property, such as real estate with survivorship language in deed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Living Trust </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Non-Probate Advantages <ul><li>May avoid probate altogether </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce administration fees </li></ul><ul><li>Note that non-probate property may or may not be subject to estate taxes depending on applicable tax laws, so consultation with attorney or tax advisor may still be advisable </li></ul>
  15. 15. Recommended Actions for Non-probate property <ul><li>Review bank account agreements, any employer benefit plans, insurance policies, individual retirement or other investment accounts as to any available beneficiary designations </li></ul><ul><li>Extremely important to make sure that beneficiary designations are made and up to date </li></ul>
  16. 16. Recommended Actions for Non-probate property <ul><li>Specifically identify your beneficiaries </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid “By Law” designations of beneficiaries </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss with an attorney options to make probate property non-probate, such as transferring probate real estate to married couple with survivorship rights to make it non-probate </li></ul>
  17. 17. Base Legal Office Services <ul><li>Simple will </li></ul><ul><li>Testamentary trust </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Highly advisable for clients with children of prior marriage/relationship </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisable for clients who want to authorize more control or longer control over assets left to children than leaving all assets to child’s control after age 18 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If more complex than base resources will permit, will refer member to see civilian attorney </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Base Legal Office Services <ul><li>Review deeds or other documents to determine probate/non-probate nature and recommend other advisable actions even if not provided through the base legal office. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Base Legal Office Services <ul><li>Available to military members and dependents with military ID </li></ul><ul><li>Priority will be given to deploying personnel </li></ul><ul><li>Available on drill weekends and by special appointment </li></ul>
  20. 20. Base Legal Office Services <ul><li>Building 114, Suite 132 </li></ul><ul><li>Telephone: 419-868-4191 </li></ul><ul><li>Phone is not manned during the </li></ul><ul><li>work week, but messages will be </li></ul><ul><li>checked </li></ul><ul><li>For emergency deployment-readiness </li></ul><ul><li>issues between drill weekends, contact </li></ul><ul><li>the 180 th FW orderly room at </li></ul><ul><li>419-868-4030 </li></ul>