THE ESTATE PLAN
A solid estate plan typically uses the following tools to create lifetime and after life designations. Estate Planning through Jansen Law usually consists of an initial meeting that lasts about one hour. Clients should gather information about their estate, identify what assets and debts they have. Choosing who you trust to handle your estate is a very important decision. We discuss the roles and responsibilities during our consultation, but clients should begin considering this prior to your initial appointment and identify potential individuals who would be appropriate. After consultation, you can identify who you feel would be most appropriate.
Last Will and Testament
Most adults will want to designate who should be in charge of their estate should they pass. Picking the proper person to take the appropriate actions for your estate is important and should not be lightly considered. A proper choice will help reduce the potential for conflict, and result in an organized distribution of assets and resolution to any outstanding debts. Making specific designations for churches, community organizations, or other special interests should be accomplished through a Last Will and Testament. As well, leaving gifts for others, especially those who are not related, should be outlined in detail within your Last Will and Testament.
If you have a beneficiary who needs extra protections, we can build a Trust into the Last Will and Testament to protect them from squandering any potential inheritance, disqualify them from a social program of benefit, and protect them from poor financial situations should they exist.
Are you remarried? Do one or both of you have children from a prior relationship? Without a Last Will and Testament along with proper advice, you may impact your children’s ability to receive from your estate. Proper planning is necessary for this type of family to protect and provide for everyone associated according to your wishes. An estate plan is essential.
Depending upon your circumstances, multiple tools exist to help you create a plan as you wish.
Powers of Attorney
It is essential to make plans for situations that can occur during your lifetime as well as after life decisions. Identifying an Attorney-in-Fact through a Power of Attorney is a great tool to plan for this. The reality is that most powers of attorney are used for younger clients after an unexpected situation with severe consequences. Having this plan in place will reduce the stress on your family and loved ones.
Powers of Attorney typically start with those powers allowed by the Indiana Code, but can then be customized and limited based upon the wants and needs of my clients.
Transfer on Death Deeds
The transfer on death deed in Indiana is a great tool to move property quickly upon your passing, while maintaining complete and total control of your estate. Many people used to transfer property into their children’s names during their lifetime to attempt to save costs and hardships on the family after their passing. But the risks and misbehaviors of some people have made this type of planning a dangerous situation for many.
Using the Transfer on Death Deed option, you maintain complete ownership of your property. You may use it, sell it, give it, destroy it, mortgage it, rent it, or exercise any other legal use of the land as you choose. Upon verification of your passing (or everyone’s passing if husband and wife or multiple owners), this property will be transferred to the beneficiary without Court action. There may be action necessary on behalf of the beneficiary, but awaiting the Probate Court will not be a major concern.
One available tool to meet your estate planning needs is a Trust. There are various reasons to create a Trust at this time.
If you have a beneficiary who has special needs in the way in which they receive their inheritance or the way in which they may spend their inheritance, certain protective provisions can be built to assist them. This may allow them to keep their qualification for certain federal and state level funding (Medicaid). This may also be a good plan for protecting a beneficiary who tends to swiftly spend funds that come into their possession.
In addition to these tools that we create, we speak of additional planning steps necessary including naming beneficiaries on your respective accounts, prior funeral planning, insurance planning, etc.
Estate Planning is an important part of life planning that every adult should consider. When you have a young family, it is important to protect your spouse through the use of a Last Will and Testament, providing for your spouse should you pass away. Without a Last Will and Testament, your parents may have a claim to a portion of your estate. If you have young children, part of your estate could be tied up in a Guardianship proceeding unnecessarily without having a Last Will and Testament in place. In the event of additional tragedy, your Last Will and Testament is the guiding force in place to direct the Courts and identify who is charged with the responsibility of ensuring your children are properly cared for. Making preparations for a potential Trust will ensure additional protections for your child or children.
As well, even as a young adult, estate planning should include Powers of Attorney, designating who can act on your behalf for financial purposes and making medical decisions should you be unable. If you become incapacitated, failure to have an estate plan in place would result in a Guardianship being granted by a Court according to the priorities designated by the law. Making these choices while you are able allows you to plan ahead and communicate with your representative about your personal priorities.