Wills are legal documents that take effect after you pass away. Wills provide instructions about who should serve as your personal representative (called an executor) and who should receive your assets. Wills also can name a guardian for a minor child and make arrangements for the care of a disabled child or adult. If a person dies without a valid will, Indiana law determines who inherits the estate. Trusts are estate planning tools that name a trustee to manage a person’s assets during his or her lifetime, and tells the trustee how to distribute those assets when the person dies. Unlike a will, a trust can reduce or eliminate estate taxes, and the need for probate court.
You may think you do not need a will because you own little or your assets are all held in joint accounts, joint tenancy, or beneficiary accounts. However, future assets mat be acquired through inheritance, gift, or by winning a lottery. Putting your wishes in writing through a valid will or trust helps to ensure that your desires will be known and honored after your death.
Wills and trusts are highly personalized estate planning tools. Anyone who is thinking about making a will or trust should ask a Indiana Wills and trusts lawyer who is experienced in estate planning to determine the best course of action.