Houck Menninger Law

Estate Planning FAQs

Absolutely, yes. Everyone needs an estate plan!

Estate planning is about so much more than the money you have in the bank. Your estate plan is the means by which you delegate financial and health care decision-making during times of disability, ensuring a smooth transition and minimizing expenses at death, and protecting assets for your loved ones (among many other important and personal goals). And it’s about finding the right person to work with to help you create, implement, and maintain that plan.

Payable-on-Death and Transfer-on-Death accounts and designations do technically avoid probate at your death, and they may work for some. However, P.O.D. and T.O.D. pose issues for beneficiaries who are underage, incapacitated, or predecease you. While you may have avoided probate at your death, you very likely have created a probate issue for someone else, including creating the need for a guardianship.

What about beneficiaries relying on government benefits for income or health care? P.O.D. and T.O.D. will cost them their benefits. Additionally, these types of designations offer no protections for your beneficiaries from divorce or lawsuits, and they can improperly enable immature or spendthrift children or grandchildren. However, a comprehensive estate plan that can help you and your loved ones avoid these future issues with ease.

Like with most questions in life, it depends. We live in a world where everything can be purchased online for cheap. DIY Wills and Trusts may work for some.  But there is a growing number of individuals and families in the South Dayton region who are looking for more than just a set of documents to purchase. They seek counseling on tax planning and protecting their assets. They want to ensure their family does not have to deal with probate in the event of disability and death. They want clarity.

Estate planning, at its core, is about having a comprehensive, thoughtful, and personalized legal and financial plan to make things better and easier for those we love. The stakes are high, and it is worth paying a reasonable fee to ensure the best results for you and your family.

Elder Law is a specialized field of the law. Generally speaking, Elder Law involves counseling and advocating for older individuals and those with special needs - along with their families and chosen representatives - in a variety of legal matters, including health care, end-of life, long term care planning, public benefits, and surrogate decision making, all done in combination with effective estate and tax planning.

While some individuals purchase long term care insurance or establish trusts to protect their assets, the reality is that most individuals do not plan ahead for the costs of long term care. Instead, many believe they have no choice but to pay for care at home or in a nursing home until they are broke.  


Our firm is here to help the members of our South Dayton community understand their options. It is possible to preserve your assets while still allowing a spouse or parent to get they care they need through Medicaid. Additionally, there are pension benefits available to Veterans and their surviving spouses to help pay for long term care. 

This is another common misconception. In most cases, the home is considered an exempt asset for purposes of Medicaid eligibility. However, the real problem arises when a Medicaid recipient dies and the State of Ohio enforces its right to reimbursement, referred to as estate recovery. In short, a Medicaid recipient may not lose his or her home during their life. However, proper planning is necessary if preserving the home for the family is a priority.

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