At some point, your passing will be traumatic for your loved ones on many levels. However, you can avoid adding stress to their grief by making legal preparations for your assets. You also can protect your own wishes about how your assets are distributed among the people you love and the organizations that you want to support.
If you do not have a will, chaos and acrimony may ensue as family members and other interests square off in court. Look no further than the case of singer Aretha Franklin. The fabled and beloved "Queen of Soul" had no will, leading to legal challenges filed by four sons and a niece. Similar controversies followed the deaths of singers Prince and Amy Winehouse, and actors Philip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini.
Understanding the legalities of estate planning
You don't have to be famous to have a will. An entire branch of the judicial system - Probate Court - handles the financial affairs of deceased persons in Indiana. How the court proceeds depends on many factors, including the size of the estate and whether the deceased person had a last will and testament. When a will exists, it is handled either through a supervised or unsupervised administration.
Even when the deceased person has a will, it can be legally disputed by parties who think they have been a legal grievance, but the likelihood of a dispute increases exponentially when there is no will, or when the will is poorly or ambiguously written. For someone who is not accustomed to dealing with the Probate Court system, especially for someone suffering from the aftereffects of losing a loved one, the process can be confusing and frustrating.
What You Need for Peace of Mind
Not just any attorney can handle probate cases. You need someone who fully understands how the system works in Indiana. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Hocker & Associates LLC, with offices in Indianapolis and Greenwood, have handled many cases just like yours. We are proud of our Hoosier roots and will go the extra mile to provide you with friendly, compassionate advice that allows you to make the best decisions for you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.