Providing High-Quality Estate Planning Services in Indianapolis
Giving you peace of mind as you navigate a complex process
You must think about the future of your loved ones after you pass away, even though estate planning can be a difficult thing to approach — and it’s easy to put it off. Setting up sound wills, trusts and other estate planning documents helps people protect their family members. Finalizing your estate planning strategies can give you peace of mind, and the helpful attorneys at Ward & Ward in Indianapolis can guide you through an ever-changing plethora of State and Federal laws.
Planning for the future of your estate
Regardless of your current state of health, it’s never too early to begin the estate planning process so you can ensure the protection of your loved ones if the worst should occur. To start this process, it is important to understand the various elements of a good estate plan and how they connect with each other.An estate plan arranges for the transfer of your assets in anticipation of death to retain maximum wealth for beneficiaries. It includes total property, real and personal, owned by an individual prior to distribution through a trust or will. And although trusts and wills are important elements of any estate plan, there are key differences between them, which may influence how you choose to distribute your assets and property.
Avoid complications by drafting a will
Essentially, a will is a written, signed and attested document that dictates the management of your estate after you pass away. It also names an executor who manages the distribution of your assets according to the wishes you outline. You can specify which items you would like to go to particular beneficiaries, such as vehicles, real estate, art, jewelry and intellectual property. This is especially important if these items have sentimental value or are family heirlooms.Wills also make things easier if you’re in a relationship with someone to whom you are not married. You can leave your partner assets or property through your will, which saves that person the trouble of fighting for these items if you pass away.
Setting up a trust for beneficiaries
One of the key benefits of a trust is that it’s not subject to the probate process, which can save your beneficiaries time and money. There are several different types of trusts the team at Ward & Ward can draft, including:
Land trust. A trustee holds ownership of land for the benefit of an individual or entity. This is typically used for large landholdings.
Fixed trust. The trustee has limited discretion in the management of assets. This is also known as a nondiscretionary trust.
Pot trust. The funds are spent at the discretion of the trustee, rather than dividing assets evenly. This type of fund is set up for children
What happens if a person dies without a will?
No matter the size of a person’s financial estate is, they should always have estate planning lawyers Indianapolis, IN draft a will for them. A will is what gives a person’s heirs the legal right to whatever property or assets he or she wanted their family members or friends to have. Real estate, vehicles, and personal property are all items that can be addressed in a will. In addition, a person can also stipulate what they want done for their funeral and/or burial, as well as name the person or persons they want to be legal guardian for their children. If they have other assets, such as a small business, what happens to that business can also be stipulated in the will.If a person dies and does not have a will, then the probate court will decide what happens to all the decedent’s property and assets, as well as guardianship for their children. It is important to keep in mind that how the court distributes your estate and who they appoint a guardian may not be what you would have stipulated in your will.
When a person dies without a will, the legal process of how their estate will be distributed is called intestate succession. The court will make all the decisions regarding the estate in accordance with state intestate laws. Just as needs to be done if there is a will, all of the debts the decedent had are paid first, before the rest of the estate is distributed to the heirs. This is a process estate planning lawyers Indianapolis, IN can help oversee.Although each state has their own rules, generally, the order in which the court will divide the estate up is as follows:
If the person was married and had children, their spouse will receive half of the estate and the other half is divided between the children.
If the person was married and had children but their spouse is also deceased, then the entire estate is divided among the children.
If the person was married, but had not children, then their spouse will inherit the entire estate.
If the person was not married and had no children, the court will award the estate in this order
The decedent’s parents
The decedent’s siblings
The decedent’s nieces and nephews
The decedent’s grandparents
The decedent’s aunts and uncles
The decedent’s cousins
If the decedent had no known family, the entire estate will go to the county that the person lived in. This includes real estate and large assets, such as vehicles and boats. Any personal property the decedent had will usually do to the state.
Let an Estate Planning Attorney Help
Don’t let the courts decide how your estate should be divided. Contact estate planning lawyers Indianapolis, IN from Ward & Ward Law Firm today to find out how easy this process can be.
Get the estate planning process started in Indianapolis today
If you have questions about proper estate planning, consult with an experienced lawyer. Call Ward & Ward today at 317-639-9501 or contact us online. We can meet with you at your convenience and are ready to provide comprehensive estate planning services to you and your family.