One thing I want to point out is that no one is too young or has too few assets to think about having estate planning documents drafted to make sure that you, your family and children are protected. The main 5 documents you may need are a Will, Trust, Living Will, Appointment of Healthcare Representative, and Power of Attorney, which I will briefly talk about in turn.
Wills and Trusts– In the rare chance of your passing, you want to make sure that your assets are protected and that they are distributed to the person(s) and in the matter that you wish. Without a will in place, your assets will be distributed pursuant to the laws of Indiana, which may potentially result in your assets not being given to the persons of your choosing and possibly even going to the state. An educational and medical trust for your minor children, or else a will that would create a trust for your children, will help ensure that your assets will be used for your children’s benefit and in the manner that you wish for those assets to be distributed to them. Furthermore, you can establish a person who you know and trust to be the trustee, (the person who administers the trust), to handle your assets for the children’s benefit. The trust will also guide the trustee and require him/her to distribute your assets in accordance with your wishes. If you leave your assets to your minor children in a will without such a trust in place, your ex-spouse, (or the other parent of your children), or some other family member or acquaintance who may be granted custody of your children upon your passing, may be given your assets for the benefit of your children if they haven’t reached the age of 18. Without the requirements setting forth how the assets are to be used for the benefit of your children as in a trust, the person receiving your assets on behalf of the children can use those in any manner they wish, including potentially not using them for the children. Even if you are married, such a trust is still important in the rare chance that your spouse predeceases you. Further, a will can set forth your funeral and service preferences, who you wish to be the guardians of your children, along with a lot of other issues you may want addressed.
Living Wills and Appointments of Healthcare Representative– These documents are important in the case you become physically or mentally incapacitated. The Appointment of Healthcare Representative ensures that you have the person of your choosing making your medical decisions in the case you become incapacitated. The Living Will can cover several items, including giving direction to your Healthcare Representative on what decisions you want made regarding your medical condition in various circumstances, establishing your wishes regarding a guardian of your children during your incapacity, and establishing your wishes as to donating your organs and tissues, your funeral arrangements, or any religious acts you wish to be performed if your passing is imminent.
Powers of Attorney– This document can establish a person(s) you trust to handle your financial and other affairs that may be needed in the normal routine of life or business and during a potential physical or mental incapacity.
If you are thinking about establishing an estate plan, contact Adam S. Lutzke Law Offices at (317) 258-7809, or at [email protected].