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Why estate planning matters

If the state of Indiana considers you to be a legal adult, it’s important that you have an estate plan in place. This is true even if you don’t have a significant amount of money or valuable assets. In addition to managing your assets, an estate plan may allow you to exert greater control over how you’re treated while incapacitated. Furthermore, it can enable you to name a guardian for a minor son or daughter.

The risks of not having an estate plan

In the event that you die before executing a valid will, state law will likely determine how your estate is allocated. Therefore, it’s possible that an estranged parent, sibling or child will receive the home that you wanted your closest friend to receive. Furthermore, the state might determine who cares for your children until they become legal adults.

If you become incapacitated, a judge may appoint someone to manage your affairs until you regain the ability to do so. However, this person may lack the experience or integrity to fulfill this role properly. By creating a trust, you can appoint someone reliable to pay bills, care for your children or perform other key tasks.

An estate plan may protect you after a divorce

Any assets that are placed in a trust prior to a divorce are usually exempt from being divided in a final settlement. Therefore, you may retain full control of a business, rental property or other valuable items that you acquired during the marriage by estate planning. Furthermore, this may ensure that your child will still be able to receive his or her full inheritance. An estate planning attorney may be able to provide more insight into how your plan might change after a major life event such as the end of your marriage.

An attorney may help you create a will, trust or other type of estate plan documents. He or she may also help you review any documents that you’ve created to ensure that they meet your needs while conforming to state law.

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