Many families and individuals think that estate planning is only for “rich people” like celebrities, star athletes and CEOs. The fact is, virtually everyone can benefit from having an estate plan. Why? For one reason, without a plan of your own the state of Indiana will control who receives your assets after you pass away. The state is not interested in who you want to receive your assets, how long it will take for your heirs to receive them, or how much the process costs. Your assets will simply be distributed according to state guidelines.
Another reason to have a plan of your own is to choose people you trust to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Without a plan, the state will appoint someone to make these decisions for you. This could very well be someone you never would have chosen yourself.
Depending on your particular situation, we can design a plan that not only addresses the issues we’ve just mentioned but also helps you accomplish a number of other goals, including:
- Name a guardian for your minor children
- Avoid the delays, lack of privacy, expense and frustration inherent in the Indiana probate process
- Protect your heirs’ assets against lawsuits, creditors, divorce and other potential problems
- Minimize estate, gift, and other taxes
- Pass your sense of responsibility, work ethic, and values on to your heirs
- Leave a lasting legacy
- Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having a plan in place for the future
Here is a brief introduction of just a few of the tools and strategies we can use to help you accomplish these and other goals.
Last Will and Testament
This allows you to control who receives your assets after you pass away. It also allows you to choose guardians for your minor children if something happens to you and your spouse.
Durable Powers of Attorney
These allow you to choose people you trust to make financial and medical decisions for you in the event of incapacity. Without powers of attorney for finance and healthcare, the court will decide who has the authority to make decisions on your behalf.
These allow you to select, in advance, the types of medical treatments you do or do not want in an end of life situation. Another important document to have is a HIPAA Authorization, which gives the people you love and trusted advisors access to medical information about your condition when they need it.
There are many types of trusts, each of which is capable of helping you accomplish a particular goal. One of the most commonly used trusts is called a revocable living trust. First and foremost, it allows your estate to avoid the Indiana probate process. In addition, it allows you to maintain control over your assets while you are alive and, surprisingly enough, after you have passed away. You don’t even have to transfer your assets to your revocable living trust all at once. You can do so over time, as well as add newly acquired assets to the trust, which provides for the possibility of ongoing financial management.
We will work closely with you to create a customized plan to achieve all of your needs and goals. Contact us today for a consultation.
You can reach Joani Phoebus at 317-522-1325 or [email protected].