Estate Planning Services
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning and the preparation of accompanying legal documents address the management of your health care and property if you become disabled or die. Preparing your estate planning materials in advance can help your loved ones save money, reduce stress and uncertainty, and help families stay focused on carrying out your wishes while caring for each other. Our office can work with you to create estate planning materials including the necessary Will and Trust documents, along with other Advance Directives, necessary to direct the distribution of your assets after death in accordance with your wishes. Advance Directives can be used to provide direction for your healthcare if you become unconscious or unable to provide that direction yourself.
Consider the Importance of your Will:
If you don’t make the time to write a Will, your family may be forced to deal with a messy and lengthy probate process. Without a Will, you can’t assume that these important matters will be handled according to your intentions. With the help of an Indianapolis estate planning attorney, a Will can be prepared that clearly defines your wishes.
Do you have a Will? Were your estate planning materials prepared by a qualified Indiana attorney? In Indiana there are important conventions that must be observed when preparing a Will. A qualified Indianapolis estate planning attorney can assist you in preparing your Will and other estate planning documents. For example, proper witnessing will help ensure a Will is recognized and enforceable.
It’s important to determine how your estate assets will pass to your loved ones. In a Will you can:
- Direct the distribution of your probated property.
- Name a personal representative to manage the probate of your Will and the distribution of your probated property after your death.
- Select a guardian for your minor children.
Life changes such as a marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, new property ownership, moving to another state, or the receipt of an inheritance suggest a need to review your Will and other estate planning documents to determine if they should be updated to reflect the changes in your life.
The Need for Estate Planning – Dying without a Will:
Dying without a Will is known as dying intestate. If you die without a Will in Indiana, your probated assets are divided among members of your family according to Indiana law – the statutes that govern intestacy.
If you die intestate non-probate assets (such as Life Insurance, IRA Savings Accounts, jointly titled property, etc.) will pass according to beneficiary designations or according to the way in which jointly held assets are titled. However, for probate assets, the provisions of the Indiana intestacy statutes may not answer important questions or match your wishes. A Will serves as an enforceable expression of your wishes.
Consider this – without appropriate estate planning including a Will:
- For some married couples, if a husband dies without a Will, a quarter of his probated estate may go to other members of the husband’s family instead of his wife;
- For couples with children, if a husband dies without a Will or a Trust to direct otherwise, as much as half of the husband’s probated estate could pass directly to the children bypassing his wife;
- For couples with minor children, without a Trust and provisional language within the Will, the children will receive their share of the probated estate at age eighteen without any restrictions on spending;
- For couples with step children, if a husband passes without a Will, the inheritance of the step children and wife can become a very thorny matter.
What is Probate?
Probate is a process for proving that an individual’s will is valid. The probate court provides a legal framework for collecting the assets of someone who has died in order to satisfy creditor claims, resolve conflicts among beneficiaries, and distribute what is left to the appropriate persons or institutions. Certain assets are not included as probate assets, and in certain circumstances probate may not be necessary. Probate law governs these activities. Proper estate planning can reduce the complexity and expense of Probate!
What is a Trust?
A Trust is a legal device that is created by a grantor (the party who provides an asset that becomes the body of the trust) for the benefit of designated beneficiaries. A trustee is appointed and is charged with the administration of the trust. Trusts can be established to address a variety of needs including asset protection. Our office can provide advice on whether or not a Trust could be a useful component of a client’s estate planning activity.
Call For A Free Initial Consultation:
Estate Planning, Trusts, Wills, Probate
Serving the estate planning needs of Hoosiers throughout Central Indiana including Indianapolis, Noblesville, Westfield, Carmel, Fishers, and throughout Hamilton County and Marion County.
For wills, trusts, estate planning, and probate matters contact an Indianapolis estate planning attorney at:
Barnes Cadwell Law
10475 Crosspoint Blvd
Indianapolis, IN 46256