Whether you have a large estate or own a few assets, it helps to have a clear plan in place in the event of your incapacitation or death. Failing to prepare an estate plan can make settling your affairs more complicated for your family and beneficiaries.
What Is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is a legal procedure of making it clearly known how your assets should be handled after your death or incapacitation. An estate plan is usually set up with the help of a lawyer experienced in estate law. Whether you need help creating or updating your current estate plan, attorneys at Applegate & Dillman Elder Law can help.
We have vast experience helping seniors and their loved ones navigate even the most challenging estate planning matters. Through our Life Care Planning Program (which combines estate planning, long-term care, and Medicaid planning), we help individuals and families regularly assess their goals and ensure their estate plans align with them.
Do You Need an Estate Plan?
A common misconception is that estate planning is only for the wealthy class, but the reality is that you may need this legal document even if you have a few assets. In simple terms, anyone who wants their wealth to be distributed to one or more survivors after their death should consider creating a formal estate plan through an estate planning attorney.
At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, we understand that estate planning can mean different things to different people. Plus, what works for someone else might not work for you. Therefore, we strive to create custom estate plans that address specific asset protection needs.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring Applegate & Dillman Elder Law?
Applegate & Dillman Elder Law is a full-service legal firm with both legal and medical professionals. It is the only legal firm that offers life care planning services in central Indiana, so you can trust our holistic approach in handling your estate planning and long-term care matters.
We will listen to your needs and create a customized estate plan that meets your unique goals. Our legal team also handles the estate planning process professionally from start to finish. Besides creating the plan, we will implement and nurture it by making regular updates according to your needs. We will also help distribute your assets upon death to help your survivors avoid litigation.
What to Expect
- Preparing a will or trust
- Establish your directives, including the power of attorney
- Irrevocable asset protection trusts
- Health care directives
- HIPAA authorization
When you work with Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, you can rest assured your estate will be distributed to the right heirs and beneficiaries and that your financial and family affairs will be kept private. You can also have peace of mind knowing your disabled children or grandchildren will be protected. In addition, we protect your estate until the heirs and beneficiaries are mature enough to handle their inheritance.
Contact Us Now
Ready to get started? Contact our Indiana estate planning attorneys for inquiries and discuss your needs and wishes for the future.
Estate Planning FAQ
When Should I Start Estate Planning?
Estate planning is essential for individuals of all ages and financial situations. The sooner you start the process, the more control and security you will have over your assets and legacy.
Estate planning allows you to name guardians for your children in case something happens to you. It also allows you to set up trusts to provide for your children's future education or other needs.
As you accumulate more assets like a home, investments, and a retirement fund, estate planning becomes crucial for determining how those assets will be distributed upon your death and maximizing the value of your estate by minimizing taxes.
Later in life, estate planning focuses on legacy and ensuring your life's work and assets are passed on according to your wishes. It gives you peace of mind that your estate will be settled efficiently and with minimal conflict. By planning properly, you can rest assured your loved ones will be taken care of in the event of your death or incapacitation.
What Documents Are Essential for Estate Planning?
When establishing an estate plan, certain legal documents are essential. These include:
- A will: A will points out how you want your assets and property distributed after your death. Without a will, the state will determine how to distribute your assets per Indiana intestacy laws.
- A living will: A living will, also called a healthcare directive, specifies your wishes regarding medical care if you become incapacitated. It allows you to state whether or not you want life-prolonging medical procedures performed.
- A durable power of attorney: The document allows you to designate someone to make critical decisions if you become incapacitated. It ensures your financial affairs will be handled appropriately, mainly when you cannot make sound decisions.
- A revocable living trust: A living trust can allow you to distribute your assets while avoiding the probate process. You will transfer ownership of your property to the trust but retain control over them during your lifetime. Upon death, the trust dictates how the assets are distributed to your beneficiaries.
How Can I Protect My Assets Through Estate Planning?
There are several ways to protect your assets through estate planning. Implementing the right strategies can ensure your wealth's preservation and efficient transfer. Here are some critical techniques to consider:
- Create a Comprehensive Estate Plan: Developing a well-crafted estate plan is the foundation for protecting your assets. Your plan should include a will, trusts, power of attorney, and advanced healthcare directives.
- Regularly Review and Update Your Plan: Life circumstances and laws change over time, so reviewing and updating your estate plan is crucial. Major life events like marriage, divorce, births, or changes in financial circumstances require adjustments to your plan to ensure continued asset protection.
- Implement Asset Titling Strategies: How you hold title to your assets can impact their protection. Consider titling assets jointly with a spouse or transferring them to a trust or an entity. Proper titling can provide enhanced protection and facilitate smooth asset transfers.
- Consult an Estate Planning Attorney: Hiring an estate planning lawyer can be instrumental in protecting your assets and ensuring that your estate plan is tailored to your specific needs. Our Indiana estate planning attorneys will guide you, navigate complex legal issues, and help you establish a detailed plan to give you peace of mind.