Phone: (812) 405-1800
Legal ServicesThe following are our law practice areas.
The following is a brief description of some of the services offered by our office. This information is not, nor is it intended to be legal advice.
PROBATE, ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
This is the process by which legal title of property is transferred from the decedent’s estate to his or her designated beneficiaries or legal heirs. The process is generally initiated by the Executor or Administrator and is supervised by the Probate Court and Judge. This involves, if applicable, validating the decedent’s will, appraising property, accounting for assets in an inventory format, paying the decedent’s debts and expenses, and distributing the net estate according to will or state law.
This is a process involving professional advisors who are familiar with your assets, goals and concerns. The desired result is an orderly disposition of your assets upon death while minimizing the exposure and expenses associated with probate court and or inheritance tax. The process may also alleviate disputes among family members in that your wishes regarding distribution of assets are clearly stated. A variety of “tools” are used in the estate planning process, including but not limited to survivorship deeds, transfer of death deeds, beneficiaries, POD designations, TOD designations and JTWRS designations.
LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
The will is your written declaration of how your assets are to be distributed after your death. In this document, you are able to name an executor, who shall be in charge of distributing your estate to your chosen beneficiaries, after debts are satisfied. Additionally, you may nominate a guardian for minor children and create a trust to care for their assets until they reach a more mature age.
GENERAL/FINANCIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY
This document gives the individual you nominate the full power to act on your behalf and sign all documents you are otherwise able to sign. This document may avoid the need for an appointed guardian in Probate Court, should you become mentally or physically unable to handle your own affairs. Great care should be exercised when choosing your attorney-in-fact, because the potential exists for them to abuse their power, and use your assets for their own expenses.
HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY
This document provides the individual you nominate the authority to make health care decisions for you and express your intentions regarding medical treatment, should you be unable to do so yourself. If you are unconscious and or do not have the mental capacity to make decisions, your health care power of attorney has the authority to discuss matters with your doctor or hospital, and make decisions based on their recommendations.
The living will is your written declaration regarding the removal of life sustaining treatments and in some cases is the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration. This document differs from a power of attorney in that you, not a power of attorney are making the decision for withdrawal of treatment. This alleviates the family member or friend from having to make such a difficult decision. The living will only applies when you are in terminal condition or permanently unconscious and have lost the capacity to make decisions.
This is a legal entity that can hold title to property or assets for the benefit of the creator and or others. There are numerous types of trusts each designed to meet a particular goal of the creator, such as asset protection or tax avoidance. The trust can be a valuable estate planning tool, but is not necessary for everyone.
DECLARATION OF BURIAL INSTRUCTIONS
This document is a statement of your preferences concerning your burial and or cremation. In addition, it appoints a representative to exercise the right of disposition for your body after death. In many cases, this declaration can alleviate disputes among family members in that your wishes regarding burial and or cremation have been clearly stated.