Personal Planning

RKPT’s Personal Planning practice encompasses a wide range of services, from preparing estate planning documents for individuals and families, to succession planning for businesses, protection of assets, estate and trust administration, and establishing guardianships and conservatorships. We take great pride in the responsive and proactive approach we take for our clients. Working closely together to clearly identify and understand their goals and objectives, we come up with creative, comprehensive options to address our clients’ estate planning goals. Regardless of the size or complexity of the estate and the issues involved, we strive to deliver smart and creative solutions in an efficient, meaningful way.

Based in Cincinnati, we serve clients throughout the Midwest and Florida, and are dedicated to helping our clients plan for the future of their families and their businesses.

Our personal planning services include:

Estate Planning

RKPT attorneys have decades of experience advising clients on their estate planning needs. After a thorough consultation to determine your goals and needs, an estate planning attorney will create a customized estate plan to help you and your family meet your financial goals and leave a legacy to the people you care about, while minimizing estate and wealth transfer taxes.

Whether you have basic estate planning needs like a Trust, Will, Financial Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Health Care Powers of Attorney, or more complex estate planning needs like a more complex trust, foundation, or family limited partnership, our lawyers have the experience and expertise to offer you and your family sound advice and help you plan for life’s inevitable changes.

Our lawyers recognize that estate planning is a dynamic, lifelong process. We partner with our clients as they experience major life events like marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, new or growing business endeavors, or receiving a substantial gift or inheritance, and help our clients make changes to their estate plan to best serve their needs and meet their goals.

Some of our clients have relatively straightforward needs, while others require more advanced estate and tax planning tools. Regardless of your specific needs, the estate planning attorneys at RKPT have the experience and expertise to help you plan for the future, minimize tax liability, and protect your legacy.

Basic Estate Planning Services

A basic estate plan may include a simple Trust, a Last Will and Testament, a Financial Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney, and a Living Will. An estate planning attorney will compile these documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out as you near the end of your life or lack the capacity to make decisions on your own and allow you to leave a legacy to the people you care about most.

  • A Simple Trust is similar to a Will in that it determines how property should pass upon someone’s death but can also help to avoid probate and minimize the complexity of administering the transfer of property after the death of the grantor, or creator, of the trust.
  • A Will is one of the foundational documents of an estate plan. It identifies broad categories of assets and describes how they will be transferred at the time of your death.
  • A Financial Power of Attorney appoints someone else to make financial and business decisions for you if you are unavailable or lack the capacity to make them yourself.
  • A Healthcare Power of Attorney allows someone else to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself.
  • A Living Will can be used to describe your wishes regarding end-of-life treatment that you do or do not wish to receive, and gives you control over decisions made as you near the end of your lifetime.

Complex Estate Planning Services

For more complex estates or families who must address special needs, RKPT offers complex estate planning strategies that may include the creation of a Family Limited Partnership, trust, or private family foundation.

Family Limited Partnership

A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is a financial arrangement that allows family members to pool assets to operate a business. Each family member buys shares in the business and can take a profit proportionate to the number of shares they own. An FLP can be used to preserve a family business for future generations while sheltering assets and minimizing tax liability.

Complex Trusts

A complex trust is similar to a Will in that it specifies how a person’s property will be transferred; however, a trust offers additional flexibility and is often used to address more complicated estate planning situations.

A trust establishes a fiduciary relationship between the trust-maker (sometimes known as the grantor, settlor, or trustor) and the trustee. The trustee manages assets placed in the trust for the benefit of a third party, known as the beneficiary.

Unlike a Will, which must be reviewed and approved by a probate court, assets placed in a trust remain private.

A trust can also be used to transfer assets while the grantor is still living, while a Will can only be used to transfer assets after the person who wrote the Will has died.

Depending on your needs, a trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be changed during the lifetime of the grantor, while an irrevocable trust cannot.

Finally, there are a variety of trusts that can be used to address specific estate planning needs.

Creating a Private Family Foundation as Part of Your Estate Plan

Some of our clients wish to create a Private Family Foundation (PFF) as part of their estate planning strategy. Through a PFF, you can receive a tax deduction for contributions made to the foundation. Contributions to a PFF can also minimize estate and income tax liability and provide continuing employment for family members.

RKPT: Help with Your Estate Planning Needs

The personal planning attorneys at RKPT recognize that everyone can benefit from sound estate planning. Whether you are approaching retirement or need an estate plan to protect and care for your young family, our estate planning attorneys are here to help.

Contact us today to learn more about our estate planning services and for assistance with your planning needs. From our offices in Cincinnati, we serve clients throughout Ohio.

Guardianships and Conservatorships

If a loved one is no longer able to make decisions for themselves, they made need someone to assist them through a guardianship or conservatorship. By establishing a guardianship or conservatorship, you can assist your loved one in making financial, healthcare, and other life decisions.

If you need help establishing a guardianship or conservatorship for an elderly family member, someone who is incapacitated, or a child with special needs who is reaching adulthood, the Ohio guardianship and conservatorship attorneys at RKPT can help.

Our attorneys can explain the options, assist you and your family in making a decision that best suits your needs, and take the necessary steps to implement your wishes.

Ohio Guardianship

A guardian is someone appointed by the probate court to handle financial, healthcare, and/or personal matters on behalf of an incapacitated person, who is called the ward.

Being appointed a guardian is an important responsibility, and it is a position that courts do not grant lightly. Before appointing someone a guardian, the court must first determine that the ward is legally incompetent and cannot manage their affairs alone. Once someone is appointed as a guardian, they have a fiduciary duty to the ward, meaning the guardian has a legal duty to manage the affairs of the ward in a way that is in the best interests of the ward.

Ohio recognizes several different types of guardianship.

  • A Guardian of the Person has physical custody of the ward and makes day-to-day decisions on healthcare and non-financial personal matters on behalf of the ward.
  • A Guardian of the Estate has the ability to make financial decisions on behalf of the ward.
  • A Limited Guardian is only authorized to make decisions in certain areas of the life of the ward.
  • A Guardian of the Person and the Estate is authorized to make personal, financial, and healthcare decisions on behalf of the ward.

Applying to Become a Guardian

If you wish to become someone’s guardian, you must complete a Guardianship Application and file it in the probate court of the county where the proposed ward resides. You, as the applicant, must also submit to both a background check and a credit check, and with limited exception, must complete a 6-hour Fundamentals of Guardianship course that is offered by the Ohio Supreme Court. Once appointed, a guardian must complete three hours of continuing education every year.

As part of the application process, the applicant must also submit a Statement of Expert Evaluation, completed by a doctor, psychologist, or psychiatrist who has examined the ward and believes that a guardianship is necessary. The probate court will also have an independent court investigator evaluate the ward and separately submit their report to the probate court.

To complete the guardianship process, the court will hold a hearing to determine that the ward is incompetent. The ward’s next of kin must be notified and can either consent to the guardianship, attend the hearing, or waive the right to attend the hearing. If the court does not receive a response from next of kin, the judge will assume there are no objections to the guardianship. Once all interested parties have been notified, the court will hold the guardianship hearing.

To have a guardianship granted, the applicant must show that the proposed ward is unable to care for their own basic needs, property, or others under their care; has a mental impairment or illness or a developmental disability; or is a chronic substance abuser.

During the guardianship hearing, the court will review the application, as well as the medical and investigative reports. The court will also hear testimony from the proposed ward and any next of kin or interested parties. After the hearing, the court will issue an order either granting or denying the guardianship. If the ward or the applicant disagrees with the order, the decision can be appealed.

Ohio Conservatorship

A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship in that the conservator has the power to make decisions on behalf of the ward and must act in the ward’s best interest. The difference is that a conservator is appointed by the probate court at the request of a mentally competent adult who is unable to manage certain aspects of their life. While a Guardianship proceeding is an involuntary process, a conservatorship proceeding is a voluntary one.

Considering Less Restrictive Options

Because a guardianship or a conservatorship will significantly limit the ward’s freedom, courts may consider less restrictive options, such permitting use of a Power of Attorney or a living trust to manage a ward’s assets.

Contact RKPT for Help with Ohio Guardianship and Conservatorship

If you are considering guardianship or conservatorship for a loved one, the attorneys at RKPT can help. Establishing a guardianship or a conservatorship is a complicated process that should not be attempted without the assistance of an attorney.

At RKPT, our lawyers have a wealth of experience assisting families who have members with special needs. With offices in Cincinnati and Blue Ash, we invite you to contact RKPT for more information.

Protection of Assets

RKPT lawyers have extensive experience helping clients reach their financial goals and pass a legacy on to future generations, including asset protection. Our attorneys create and implement customized estate plans that protect assets and transfer wealth while helping our clients qualify for Medicaid. We also handle matters involving fiduciaries who exploit others for financial gain.

Since our founding in 1965, our attorneys have developed client relationships built on confidence and trust. We strive to understand the specific needs of our clients and develop customized strategies to help them meet their goals. By taking a proactive, multi-disciplined approach, we can handle the most complex legal issues efficiently, keeping the needs of our clients foremost in our minds.

Estate Planning and Wealth Transfer

Our attorneys advise, counsel, and assist people in the creation and implementation of asset protection and wealth transfer strategies. We use a wide variety of tools to minimize tax liability while helping you and your family meet your financial goals and pass a legacy on to future generations.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the process of naming the people you want to handle your affairs and receive your assets as you approach the end of your life.

Your estate is made up of everything you own, including your home, car, and real estate, as well as bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and benefits, furniture, and other possessions. To protect those assets and ensure they are transferred according to your wishes, an RKPT attorney will create a customized estate plan to help you and your family reach your financial goals, leave a legacy to the people you care about, and minimize estate and wealth transfer taxes.

Asset Protection

Estate planning often involves preserving assets while seeking to qualify for Medicaid. Through proper asset protection, you can preserve your financial legacy so your assets do not go to pay for long-term care, divorce, bankruptcy, or lawsuits. This is often accomplished through the creation of an asset protection trust or a Limited Liability Company (LLC).

A Medicaid trust allows you to preserve assets while still qualifying for Medicaid. By placing assets in a trust, you no longer own the assets but can still receive interest or dividend income generated through investments.

Our attorneys can also create an LLC to protect business assets and transfer them to other family members.

Justice for Victims of Financial Exploitation

RKPT lawyers also assist clients who have fallen victim to dishonest caretakers or family members who exert undue influence or duress for their own financial gain.

Fiduciaries have legal duties and obligations to the principal, or the beneficiary of an estate or a trust. If you believe a fiduciary has breached their duty, you may be entitled to relief.

Breach of fiduciary duty occurs when someone who is in a position of trust or loyalty to another person violates their duties and fails to act in the best interests of the principal, estate, or trust beneficiary.

Examples of breach of fiduciary duty include:

  • Dishonesty
  • Self-dealing
  • Neglect
  • Improper management of money or other assets
  • Refusing to obey a court order
  • Embezzlement
  • Causing a loss by a wrongful act or omission
  • Comingling estate assets

The experienced estate litigation attorneys at RKPT can analyze your case to determine whether a breach of fiduciary duty has occurred. When complex financial transactions are involved, an RKPT attorney may engage the services of a forensic accountant, appraiser, or another expert to analyze the financial transactions at issue.

Defending Fiduciaries

Our litigators also defend executors, administrators, trustees, and other fiduciaries against breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted by unhappy or disinterested beneficiaries.

If you served as an estate administrator or executor, or as a trustee or other fiduciary, and a beneficiary claims you acted improperly, our attorneys will defend you against these allegations and protect you from personal liability.

Contact RKPT for Assistance with Wealth Transfer and Asset Protection

If you need assistance protecting and preserving your assets to transfer them to loved ones or a future generation, the attorneys at RKPT can help. We have extensive experience in estate planning, wealth transfer, and asset protection.

With offices in Cincinnati and Blue Ash, we represent people throughout Ohio and across the country. We invite you to contact RKPT for more information and to learn how we can help.

Trust and Estate Administration

Our Personal Planning attorneys offer the full spectrum of trust and estate administration services to individuals and families and are dedicated to helping trustees and executors accomplish the necessary tasks involved in the effective and efficient administration of trusts or estates. We have extensive experience handling a broad range of administrations — from simple to complex, modest to substantial. Our trust and estate administration services include: advising trustees and personal representatives; preparing necessary court documentation; assisting in transferring and retitling assets as necessary; managing the sale and disposition of real property and other valuable assets; and preparing necessary tax filings.

We also oversee guardianships and conservatorships to ensure they are properly administered.

For more information on our Personal Planning practice, we welcome you to contact RKPT.

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