Indianapolis Wills Attorney
A will is one of the most critical parts of an estate plan. This document spells out your wishes about how you want your property to be distributed after you pass away. Many people die without a will, at which point the state of Indiana automatically becomes your “estate planner.” If you do not have a will, then state statutes will determine how to distribute your assets. It is important that you have a will in place, no matter your age to protect yourself and your family.
Even young families who expect to live a long and healthy life should establish a will – as the unexpected can occur. At Trapp Law, LLC, we provide assistance in drafting a will for people from all walks of life, from young families to retired persons.
Your Will: A Vital Document
If you own property or will inherit property, a will is a vital document. You may want another person other than a family member to become the beneficiary of some of your assets. The will outlines where you want your assets to go. This is a highly personal matter, and many issues can come into play. Some parents are concerned that a certain child may be at risk if inheriting a quantity of property, cash, or other assets, and choose to establish a trust to provide support while restricting access to the principal. Some may have a child or parent with disabilities that must be cared for and require other estate planning strategies to ensure this occurs should you die or become incapacitated.
Wills and Probate
After death, an estate must be settled, under court supervision, a process called probate. Probate works by freezing the assets and establishing the validity of the will, including notifying all parties named, all property owned by the deceased person found and appraised as to value, and all creditors and taxes paid. Once completed, the probate judge issues an order to distribute the property as outlined in the will. Depending upon the size of the estate, the probate may require several years to complete.
Assets Not Subject to Probate
Your assets may be owned in “joint tenancy.” In these cases, if one party passes away, the other now owns the entire asset (such as family home, etc.). This process occurs without going through probate. Other assets that can be arranged to provide for a loved one without a lengthy probate process include jointly-owned bank accounts, along with retirement accounts with designated beneficiaries, and life insurance benefits.
Without a Will: How Your Estate is Distributed
If you do not have a will, your estate will be distributed as dictated by state law. If you are unmarried and have no children, your estate will be divided amongst your parents, brothers, sisters, nephews, and nieces. If you are unmarried but have children, your children will receive your property. If you are married but do not have children, your spouse will receive your property. If you have living parents, they will have a right to a portion of it as well. If you are married with children, your spouse will receive half of your property and your children will divide the remaining half.
If you have a will in place, the process of distributing your assets is clearly laid out – by you – and will occur faster than relying on the state to handle your affairs. Contact Trapp Law, LLC in Indianapolis for help crafting a will, living trust, or comprehensive estate plan. We offer advanced estate planning strategies at affordable rates and a free case consultation.