No one likes to have to think about their own death. However, thinking that your family and loved ones may not be cared for the way you want them to be is much more uncomfortable. Knowing how the people you care for will be taken care of once you are gone can be a positive experience, and it can also prevent any conflict over your estate once you are gone. Consulting a qualified attorney can help you understand how wills work under Indiana law and ensure that your best interests are being protected.
Even if you do have a will, it is important to review its terms on a regular basis, or at least every five years, and if something significant happens in your life you should look at the terms of your will. Events like marriage, the birth of a child, the loss of a family member who was named in your will, or divorce, are events that should cause you to review your will. When a new spouse or child is not included in an existing will they are found to be pretermitted, and are protected to a certain extent within the law. However, what they are provided for in the law may not be exactly what you had in mind.
Wills and Probate
Under Indiana law, an estate that is valued at more than $50,000 must be probated under most circumstances. Certain assets, like a house passing to the surviving spouse or a life insurance policy payout will not be included in this amount. This means a lot of estates will be probated, but knowing what assets you have and how they will pass are important aspects of creating an estate plan.
Your will determines where your personal property and assets go when you die. For individuals with children, your will can also set up trusts to protect your estate’s assets until they reach adulthood, and provide income and funds to care for them once you are gone.
Trusts are a strategic way of protecting your wealth, distributing it after death, and determining the manner in which it is distributed. Trusts can be important when you have a large estate, but can be equally important for numerous other reasons.
Whether you have loved ones who require long term care, or you become ill with young children who need to be cared for, a trust is an effective way of protecting your wealth and taking care of your loved ones once you are gone.
Trusts also allow you to choose the person you want to oversee your wealth for the benefit of whomever you choose. The trustee becomes responsible for caring for the wealth in the trust and deciding when and for what distributions should be made.
Trusts can also be an effective way of avoiding probate courts. Some trusts are created before the settlor’s death and others are created upon their death. However, trusts are not a guaranteed way of avoiding the probate courts.
Trusts can be complicated, but are also an important tool in estate planning. Whether you want to provide for your loved ones, or to ensure that their education expenses are covered, trusts can be effective financial planning tools. Consulting your accountant to discuss taxation issues is always an important part of financial planning. Your attorney can help you decide if a trust is an appropriate tool for you and help you decide which type of trust will give you what you need. Consulting a qualified attorney can help you understand how trusts work under Indiana law and ensure that your best interests are being protected.
If you are seeking legal advice about wills or trusts, please call us at 317-708-9410 to schedule a confidential consultation, or email us at [email protected]