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Establishing a living trust in Indiana skips probate court, gets assets to loved ones

Indiana estate planning attorney

Think of a living trust as a short cut for loved ones when you’re gone. Establishing a living trust in Indiana is a way to let heirs avoid the deliberations of probate court and claim assets left to them by the deceased, according to finance.yahoo.com.

In contrast, the absence of a living trust when someone dies often means that access to the assets, like money and property, must wait for the probate process to play out.

What happens in probate court?

Probate court is where the authentication of the deceased’s last will and testament takes place. The process includes locating and determining the value of the deceased’s assets, paying bills and taxes and distributing the estate to the rightful beneficiaries, according to the balance, a financial advice website.

The probate court process can take months or even years if the estate is complicated. Establishing a living trust in Indiana is a legal framework for assigning who should receive property when the owner, or trust grantor, dies.

The key to establishing a living trust in Indiana is that the Hoosier State does not use the Uniform Probate Code. The code is a set of laws aimed at simplification and uniformity in governing inheritances and assets. Thus, probate court in Indiana can be lengthy, and until the process is finalized, assets like bank accounts are frozen.

Establishing a living trust in Indiana avoids these problems.

How can I establish a living trust?

These steps can help in establishing a living trust in Indiana:

  • Choose the type of trust that suits your needs. A revocable trust lets you make changes, maintain control of assets and cancel the trust. An irrevocable trust means that the trust is permanent. If you’re married (and your children are only from that spouse), you also probably want a joint living trust. If you’re in a marriage from later in life or have children from previous relationships, you more likely want two single trusts.
  • Inventory your assets and decide which will go into the trust — your house and other real property, for example. Things like bank accounts and life insurance policies do not need to be placed in the trust, since you can avoid probate by identifying your beneficiaries to the bank and life insurance company. Those accounts are payable or transferable on death. That said, as long as you are creating a trust, you may decide to simplify things by putting everything in it.
  • Name a trustee. The trustee will have the authority to manage the trust’s assets. If you appoint yourself, you’ll also need to designate a successor trustee who would take control after you die.
  • Establish the trust by using software or hiring an attorney.
  • Sign the trust document in front of a Notary Public.
  • Fund the trust by transferring assets and property into it. Depending on the complexity of the estate, it may be helpful to hire a lawyer and financial adviser. Examples of assets and physical property that can fund a living trust include bank accounts; investments such as stocks, bonds and mutual funds; certificates of deposit (CDs); real estate; and life insurance policies.

Let a lawyer help you establish a living trust

The cost of establishing a living trust in Indiana varies, from about $200 if you do it yourself with computer software to over $1,000 if you hire a lawyer.

Don’t be dissuaded by the cost of hiring a lawyer in establishing a living trust in Indiana. A trust is a legal document. Establishing one requires legal knowledge and financial acumen.

Contact Hocker & Associates in Indiana today for help with establishing a living trust in Indiana.

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