Estate Planning

Estate planning is a necessity for all adults, especially after divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, marriage, or other significant life events. In most cases, Indiana law will deem a divorce as an act revoking an ex-spouse’s interest in an estate. With one problem solved, another one rises in the form of how does one dispose of an estate’s assets upon the revocation of the ex-spouse’s interest. Intestacy laws try to fill this gap, but these laws often result in a disposition of assets that is against the wishes of the deceased, as well as the disinheritance of certain loved ones and friends. Even if a will remains after a divorce, the provisions may not align with the circumstances a divorced spouse finds themselves in. Therefore, it is important after a divorce or other significant family event to revise your estate plan to reflect your current circumstances and wishes.

Even if you have not divorced, or even married, it is still recommended that you have an estate plan in place. As mentioned above, having your estate pass by will or trust is highly preferable to the rules of intestacy, but there are other reasons than the disposition of assets to start estate planning today. Common goals of estate planning include, but are not limited to:

  • Establishing guardians for minor children
  • Providing for the management of assets in the event of incapacity
  • Providing for the healthcare, education, maintenance and support of spouse, children, grandchildren and others
  • Providing direction for medical decisions in the event of incapacity and end of life care
  • Protecting assets from creditors
  • Providing instruction for funeral and burial desires
  • Establishing a source of payment for fees and costs relating to the settling of an estate
  • Medicaid Planning
  • Providing for the care of disabled and minor beneficiaries
  • Reducing conflict between family members and friends
  • Income and Estate Tax Planning

It is recommended that you review your estate plan yearly to ensure it matches your present wishes. Additionally, if you should experience a major life change (new child, marriage, death of a family member, employment, etc…), you should adjust your plan to reflect this change. Finally, you should consult with your attorney every 5 to review whether your plan makes sense under current law. Laws are in a constant flux, and what may have made sense 5 years ago, may not today. For example, significant changes in Federal and Indiana tax law have rendered tax avoidance plans from a few years ago obsolete in today’s environment. As law continues to evolve, so should your estate plan. A regular consulting with an attorney will help that process.

Whether you are looking to establish an estate plan or revise a former one, our friendly and experienced attorneys at Hollingsworth & Zivitz are here to provide you assistance in making your plan as robust and catered to your needs as possible, while helping you understand what you are creating and why. Contact us today!

Probate Administration

If you have been appointed as an executor or personal representative of an estate, you will likely find yourself needing assistance in handling the affairs of the estate, including pleadings, marshaling of estate assets, settling creditor claims, preparing tax returns, preparing accountings, interpreting wills, and distributing assets. Hollingsworth & Zivitz is available to assist you as you settle the estate in a timely manner.

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