Planning for what will happen to your estate after your death is a necessary part of life. Making legal arrangements that express your wishes for your finances and your dependents protects your family from hardship. At Cate Terry & Gookins, we help individuals and families craft personalized and effective estate plans using wills & trusts as well as living wills and powers of attorney. We also help clients through the estate administration and probate process after a loved one has died. Our attorneys understand the sensitivity of the estate planning process and offer clients professionalism and compassion throughout.
Benefits of a Will
A will is a legal document that organizes and optimizes your finances and your wishes for your descendants and loved ones. Wills have numerous benefits including:
- Easing your conscious about knowing that your family, and especially any minor children, will be taken care of when you are gone.
- Letting your family know what your true intentions really are.
- Ensuring that your legal rights are fully protected.
Probate Help and Management
Probate can be an overwhelming process to deal with after the death of a loved one. In Indiana, if a decedent dies with over $50,000 in their estate, or as a sole owner of real estate, the estate must be administered through the probate court. The probate process includes verifying the validity of the will, inventorying assets, satisfying all creditors and dividing the remaining assets among heirs. The attorneys at Cate, Terry & Gookins can manage opening the estate and administering the assets to prevent any personal liability on the part of the family, heirs and the personal representative. Having the counsel of an experienced probate attorney can help avoid contested wills, arguments among heirs and lengthy proceedings.
Living Wills / DNRs
A living will is a legal document that orders physicians and caretakers to follow your specific wishes when you become incapacitated with little or no hope of a meaningful recovery. Living wills (also known as Advance Health Care Directives), Physical Ordered Scope of Treatment (POST) and Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNRs) are examples of advanced healthcare directives. These documents ensure that your family does not need to watch you suffer any more than you would wish for, thereby relieving your family of difficult decisions and letting your family know what your true intentions really are.
There are numerous types of trusts, and many trusts may be hybrid trusts incorporating various trust principles. Our firm can guide you through your options and help plan for your future and your family’s future. The following are some of the more common trusts:
- Revocable Trusts are similar in purpose to a will; however, a revocable trust becomes valuable in its ability to avoid probate and maintain that your final affairs are handled privately.
- Irrevocable Trusts, or Protective Trusts, are generally effective for tax planning and to protect money and property from creditors, but irrevocable trusts also have strict management rules. These are more common for high net worth individuals and families.
- Contingent Testamentary Trusts are great devices to protect your descendants from “wasting” all of their inheritance. This can be incorporated into a will, which is generally advisable for families with minor children.
BECAUSE THEIR FUTURE DEPENDS ON IT, CALL 317-564-0016
Please contact us for qualified legal guidance on wills, trusts, and all you other estate planning needs including estate administration and probate, living wills and powers of attorney. Schedule your initial consultation.