Estate Planning in Indiana

Getting ready to create a last will and testament does not have to be a difficult process.  In actuality estate planning is simply the process of organizing oneself before creating a final will.  There are four things that can be done in order to avoid costly mistakes or errors that cost your heirs part of your estate.

First:  Check Life Insurance Policies

Estate planning in Indiana often involves finding ways to avoid probate fees and taxes.  A common way to avoid these fees that is legal in Indiana is to name an individual as the beneficiary on a life insurance policy.  The problem is that many people name a beneficiary, change their mind at some point, but never change the document.

In order to avoid problems in the future check life insurance policies often.  This will help avoid any mistakes on your part or the part of the company.  Also, be aware of the life insurance policies rules regarding changing the beneficiary and the time it is expected to take.  Waiting until the last minute to change a beneficiary or redistribute the percentages going to multiple beneficiaries can cause trouble.

Second:  Set up Trusts for Children

In the state of Indiana the spouse gets one half of the estate if no will has been created.  In order to avoid issues that could arise if you have older children by another spouse or in general set up trusts specifically for your children.  This will ensure that they get the funds that you intend for them to have.  If the children are underage find a trustee, preferably someone that is not part of the family, who can manage the child inheritance until they are of legal age.

Third:  Make Sure Accounts can be Transferred on Death

If you have any mutual fund accounts, bank accounts, savings accounts, or investment accounts with beneficiaries established be sure to specify that funds be transferred on death.  This will make it easier for heirs to claim their inheritance after your death is proved.  The funds in the accounts should be passed on directly after the death and your local financial institution should be able to help you set things up to ensure a smooth transfer.

Fourth:  Consult an Attorney to Finalize Decisions

Before creating a final will and testament, living will, or especially power of attorney contact a local attorney.  There are many attorneys in Indiana that specialize in estate planning who will be able to go over your plans with you.  They will be able to give you advice on how to save money for your heirs, and avoid challenges against the will which could have it declared invalid.

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