Jeffersonville Will Lawyers – Serving Clients in Indiana and Kentucky Estate Planning
As Jeffersonville will lawyers, we provide comprehensive estate planning services to clients in Clark, Floyd, Scott, Washington, and Harrison Counties in Indiana, and to clients in Jefferson, Shelby, Oldham, Bullitt, and Spencer Counties in Kentucky.
In estate planning, it’s important not only to provide for the distribution of your assets upon death, but also to protect your assets and wishes for healthcare and other matters if you become disabled and are not able to make decisions for your own care. In addition to planning for the distribution of assets after death, we help clients understand the various circumstances that may arise in their lives that may require powers of attorney and healthcare directives so that they can address how they would like their matters and affairs to be handled should such circumstances arise.
The Elements of Estate Planning
The basic elements of estate planning in Indiana and Kentucky consist of the following:
- A Will. A will is the legal instrument that specifies how property is to be distributed after a person’s death. If a person dies without a will, the person is said to have died “intestate.” When a person dies intestate in Indiana or Kentucky, state statutes prescribe how the person’s property is to be distributed, and the wishes of the decedent are not considered.
- A Living Will. A living will (sometimes also called a “living will declaration”) is a legal document that specifies a person’s desire for end-of-life care when the person is facing a terminal illness or medical event and is unable to communicate with others.
- Healthcare Directives and General Durable Powers of Attorney. Powers of attorney are important in the event a person becomes incapacitated and is unable communicate his or her wishes concerning medical and life care. The General Durable Power of Attorney specifies who is vested with the power to act (the “attorney-in-fact”) on behalf of the incapacitated person, and the scope of authority that is conferred upon the attorney-in-fact. As an example, the attorney-in-fact’s power may include decisions concerning social care, housing, control over finances, and other matters. Healthcare Directives provide for a designation of a trusted person to make all healthcare decisions on behalf of the person who has become incapacitated.
- A Trust. A trust is sometimes desirable for tax planning purposes, or to prevent minors from receiving a large inheritance while they are young (which may be spent foolishly) or to care for your pets after you are gone. Trusts hold the title to assets, and thus the individual contributing property to the trust is no longer the legal owner (however, the individuals typically retain the right to fully control the trust assets during their lifetime). Upon death, trust property is administered pursuant to the terms and conditions of the trust for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries.
A trust may or may not be necessary. When we meet with you and review your assets and understand your wishes, we can advise as to whether a trust may be beneficial for you.
It is Important that All Adults Have Comprehensive Estate Planning
Comprehensive estate planning ensures that assets will be distributed according to a person’s wishes after death. Further, estate planning can provide that if a medical event occurs during a person’s lifetime, the person’s wishes concerning medical care will be honored, and that their financial and other affairs will be administered by a person whom they trust and in the manner they direct.
Please Call Us to Find out How We Help You
The fees for comprehensive estate planning are generally very modest, particularly in comparison to the significant disruption that can result in the absence of clear estate plans. We will be happy to meet with you to answer your questions and explain how we can help you with your estate planning needs.