Roberson Law Focusing on Estate Planning, Trust, Probate and Elder Law


Three Steps You Can Take To Avoid Probate Court  Probate Court

Clients frequently ask, "How can I avoid probate?" While some of the steps involve preparation of documents that only an attorney should prepare, there are some things that you can do yourself to avoid probate without an attorney's involvement. Following are a few suggestions: 

1. We often have estate administrations that must go through probate solely because of how the vehicle is titled. Go to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and obtain Transfer on Death (TOD) Titles from the BMV for the vehicles that would otherwise have to go through probate. For a single person, this would mean all vehicles, unless owned in a trust or as joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) with another person. For a married couple, this would mean all vehicles that would not *automatically pass to the surviving spouse, unless owned in a trust or JTWROS with another person. (*As a reminder, there is no limit on the number of cars, but the combined value must be under $65,000 to pass outside of probate to a surviving spouse.) Also, Ohio does NOT have automatic rights of survivorship for vehicles titled jointly owned with another person. Thus, if you want to continue owning your vehicles jointly with others, and you want those vehicles to avoid probate when you die, you should re-title those vehicles as JTWROS.

2. If you own life insurance on the life of someone else, you should designate a contingent owner of the policy so that the policy does not have to be probated if you die before the insured person dies. To do this, you will need to process a change of ownership form with the life insurance company. Life insurance companies usually have their own change of ownership forms, so you would need to contact your life insurance company to obtain the form.  If you own a second-to-die life insurance policy jointly with another person, call the life insurance company and request that the policy ownership be changed to JTWROS.

3. Go to your bank and verify that the ownership of the account(s) reflects your wishes in your estate planning documents.  

You should also confirm that the beneficiary designations on your investment accounts do not contradict your wishes in your estate planning documents.

We want to note that sometimes going through probate can be a good thing, especially if family members do not get along.  As always, there is not a "one size fits all" approach to estate planning, so it's always best to consult an estate planning attorney before making decisions that most likely cannot be reversed after you die. 

Elderly Woman

Elder Care Corner: Attention, Veterans!

Did you know...

A certified copy of a Veteran's DD-214 must be presented in order for a Veteran to be buried in a National Cemetery or for the Military Guard to honor the Veteran at the funeral. Thus, you should keep a certified copy of your DD-214 on hand with your important papers if you want to be buried in a National Cemetery or have a Military Guard honor you at your funeral. Obtaining a certified copy of the DD-214 can take 4-6 weeks, which in most cases is too long to hold a body for burial, so other burial arrangements would have to be made for you if you don't have a copy of your DD-214 on hand.

Did you know...

If you are a Veteran who served in the military in active duty, you may be eligible for a credit with Social Security that entitles you to receive extra earnings under certain circumstances.  In order to receive the "pay raise," call your local Social Security office to inquire about whether or not you are eligible.
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Alzheimer's disease is relentless.  So are we.   Join our team or sponsor one of our team members for the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's®, the world's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support, and research.  Together we can help those affected by dementia and Alzheimer's Disease and move closer to a world without these devastating illnesses.
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Did you know that we have a department dedicated to senior services?
  • Preserve your savings from nursing home costs
  • Keep your home in the family
  • Know when to apply for Medicaid
  • Obtain a Personal Services Agreement for your loved one who needs to receive at-home care from another family member or friend
  • Obtain "fiduciary services" from our office when you do not have anyone who can act as your personal Power of Attorney agent. 
Check out our web page on Elder Law! 
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News You Can Use
In This Issue:  
  • Three Steps You Can Take To Avoid Probate Court
  • A Reporter's Interview With Roberson Law: The Importance Of Timing When Doing Your Estate Plan 
  • Quick Tip: Is Your Trust Dated Before 2007?
  • Are You Planning to Fail by Failing to Plan? Basic Steps to Avoiding Financial Loss 

  • Character Really Does Matter
  • Elder Care Corner: Attention, Veterans!
  • Nancy Roberson Gets Interviewed By The BBB
  • Upcoming Widows Grief Support And Resources
  • Need A Speaker For Your Next Event?
  • Just For Laughs!
A Reporter's Interview With Roberson Law:
The Importance Of Timing When Doing Your Estate Plan
Estate Planning Are You Prepared?

In 2012, Dayton Daily News contributing editor, Debbie Juniewicz, interviewed Nancy Roberson regarding the role that timing plays in doing effective estate planning. We decided to recycle this article for our newsletter because but it contains a lot of good information about the essential elements of estate planning. 

The article also shares some personal background about Nancy and the events in Nancy's life that caused her to pursue the practice areas of estate planning and probate law and open her own law practice, which later became Roberson Law.

Read the article here.
"Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time. It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other."
Leo F. Buscaglia
Strata Leadership is a company that focuses on a character quality each month, with the sole purpose of building character in organizations.  Our office has subscribed to the Strata Leadership monthly bulletins for years as a tool to promote character within our law firm.  

The character quality highlighted this month is punctuality.   According to Strata Leadership, the definition of punctuality is, "Showing respect for others by doing the right thing at the right time."  Principles of punctuality include trying to be early, under-promising and over-delivering, and frequent communication.

The action plan for practicing punctuality is: 
 1) Know your schedule.
 2) Keep track of time. 
 3) Plan for delays.
Are You Planning to Fail by Failing to Plan? Basic Steps to Avoiding Financial Loss   money_lots.jpg

With many Americans struggling to make ends meet, buying insurance is often not a priority. However, working in a law practice that is centered around death and disability often causes us to meet people who are suffering severe financial loss due to the absence of insurance in their lives when a crisis hits. Whether that crises is due to a death, illness, or an accident, many kinds of financial losses can be mitigated or eliminated altogether with insurance and prudent planning.  

To reinforce this topic, Nancy Roberson wrote an article titled  "Living Without Loss" that was published in  Living With Loss Magazine a periodical for which Nancy was a contributing author for several years until the magazine went out of publication.  The primary theme of the article is  about asset protection planning with various kinds of insurance to avoid additional losses as we journey through life.  The article addresses seven types of insurance that are a must-have for most people. 

The various emotional losses that we experience can precipitate devastating financial losses.  Although emotional loss is often inevitable, financial loss due to inadequate insurance need not emanate from it.  If you need a referral to a trusted insurance agent who can steer you in the right direction, please email us at for more information. While we will not align ourselves with a specific insurance agent or company, we do have relationships with many trusted advisors to whom we can offer a referral. 

To view Nancy's published article titled "Living Without Loss," click here.
Nancy Roberson Gets Interviewed By The BBB

Last month, Ken Jarosik from the Dayton Better Business Bureau (BBB) produced a video highlighting some of the features that separate Roberson Law from other businesses, including the factors that have contributed to the firm earning an A+ rating with the BBB.  Nancy's  interview was broadcast in a video that was shared with the Miami Valley on August 21, 2017.

Watch the video here.
Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?
On August 2, 2017, Nancy had two different speaking engagements in one day that resulted in over 100 people hearing Nancy's compelling message, "Are You Prepared," when Nancy shares her inspiring personal story that motivates audiences to get their personal and legal affairs in order.  Those two events at the beginning of August, and many more engagements that are on the schedule for the next few months, have made the last half of 2017 to be one of Nancy's busiest speaking seasons to date.
If you would like Nancy to speak at your next event, please call 937.643.2000 or email Amy Cary at to book your event.  In addition, if you would like to know where Nancy's next speaking engagement is being held, please email Amy and she will provide the details for the upcoming event. 

As always, we do not charge a fee for our professional speaking services as long as you confirm that at least ten people will attend.  If fewer than ten people attend the event, then we just request that a donation be made to the Miami Valley Widows' Support Groups.  You may also go to our speaking engagements page on our website to read some testimonials from past attendees and to obtain more information about speaking topics.  
Quick Tip: Is Your Trust Dated Before 2007?

Ohio Trust Law changed significantly effective January 1, 2007, when the Ohio Trust Code went into effect.  Since that date, on numerous occasions, w e have reminded our clients via snail mail, email, or in-person of this important date and suggested that serious consideration be made to update any trust that was dated before the Ohio Trust Code went into effect.

As a result of the law changes in 2007, we significantly revised our trust templates to comport with the Ohio Trust Code, which provides many benefits to settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries of trusts.  In addition, we now draft our trusts in a way that can be easily updated if significant changes like those made to the Ohio Trust Law in 2007 occur in the future.

If it's been awhile since you've reviewed your trust, we suggest that you dust it off and call us for an appointment to review you trust and other estate plan documents.  As a reminder, the rule of thumb is to schedule an appointment to review your estate plan every five years to make sure that your documents reflect the current laws and your wishes and estate planning goals.
Upcoming Widows Grief Support And Resources

This is a reminder that the Young Widows' Support Group (under age 50) meets on the first Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and the Widows' Support Group (over age 50) meets on the first Friday of each month from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  (Dates may change, however, due to holiday conflicts.)  Both groups meet at Normandy United Methodist Church, located at 450 West Alex-Bell Road, Centerville, Ohio.  There is no cost to attend.

We had an interesting presentation at our May meetings that we want to share with you:  "Beyond Closure" is a superb TED talk that enlightened us about our journey through grief.  You can watch it at here.

The upcoming meetings are:

September 7,8    Invincible Summer film about the seasons of grief

October 5,6        Healing the Heart: Body, Mind & Spirit

November 2,3    Preparing for the Holidays
For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the website, call Pam Walker at 937.672.8810, or email
For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or email
     Just For Laughs!

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Our mission is to  provide excellent, compassionate legal services to help people plan for the unexpected and prepare for the inevitable.

All material in this newsletter is Copyright © 2017 by Nancy A. Roberson. All rights reserved.