What do Recent Changes in The Law Mean for your Estate Plan?

Governor Kasich recently signed Senate Bill 117 into law. The Bill, which became effective March 21, 2012, impacts the existing statutory Power of Attorney (POA) law, the Ohio Trust Code, the anti-lapse statute, involuntary treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse and the federal estate tax and federal generation-skipping transfer tax. The following are some highlights of the new law:

Uniform Power of Attorney Act:

  • Repeals certain provisions of the existing statutory POA law in Ohio and enacts the Uniform Power of Attorney Act;
  • Within a POA, you may nominate an individual to serve as your guardian if the need arises. The new law requires that except for good cause shown or disqualification, the court must appoint a guardian in accordance with the individual’s most recent guardian nomination in their POA;
  • Outlines an agent’s responsibilities upon accepting an appointment of POA;
  • Specifies the agent’s authority under a POA.

Changes to the Ohio Trust Code:

  • Changes required parties to a private settlement agreement. In certain situations, a private settlement agreement can be used to modify the terms of a trust without court involvement;
  • Allows a trustee, under certain circumstances, to distribute the assets of one trust into another trust with substantially similar administrative provisions and beneficiaries. This practice is commonly referred to as trust decanting;
  • Changes the standard for modification and termination of trusts.

New anti-lapse statute for Wills and Trusts:

  • When a beneficiary named in a Will or Trust dies before the testator/grantor, and the testator/grantor does not clearly state the gift is invalid in such event, the gift will instead be distributed to the lineal descendants of the beneficiary, if the beneficiary was a grandparent, descendant of a grandparent or a step-child of the testator/grantor.

Involuntary treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse:

  • A spouse, relative, or guardian may initiate proceedings with the probate court for involuntary treatment for a limited period of time for a person suffering from alcohol or other drug abuse, if specified procedures are met.

Many of these changes may be used to your advantage. If you have questions about how recent changes in the law may impact your existing estate plan, or if you would like to discuss how Stark & Knoll can assist you in creating an estate plan, please contact your Stark & Knoll Estate Planning attorney at 330.376.3300.

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Phone: 330-376-3300 Fax: 330-376-6237

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