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Q: My partner and I have been living together for almost 10 years. Is there anything special that we need to add to our wills?
Q: What happens if a person named in a will dies before the person making the will does? How is it determined who gets his or her share?
Q: I intend to leave all of my money to two charities but I'm concerned that my children will object. I'm worried they will challenge the will. Is there anything I can do to make sure that my wishes are carried out? Should I name someone other than a child executor?
Q: In researching claims, it appears that there are two statutes of limitations that could apply. One is three months and the other is nine months. How do you know which statute of limitations applies?
Q: Can I use a power of attorney to appoint different children to do different things? Does my daughter, who is on my checking account, also have authority over my IRA or can I name another child to take care of that? What about medical decisions?
Q: We have three children all of whom are married. One of our son's wives is nice, but we aren't sure that we trust her. How do we make sure she stays out of our estate plan? Is there anything we can do to make sure she doesn't inherit our property?
Last week I wrote about the importance of planning for your digital assets. If you read last week's column, you know that I feel this area of estate planning is going to become more and more important in the future. As we expand our online identities, planning for it is going to become inevitable.
I recently received an email from a reader regarding estate planning in a digital age. The reader had seen a news program on planning for digital assets and thought that it was something that I might be interested in. He was right.
Time to catch up on some of the questions that readers have sent in.
Q: My father passed away without a will. However, a few months before he died, he told us what he wanted everyone to get. Unfortunately, he never wrote it down. Is the fact that he told several of us what he wanted enough to carry out his instructions? I know the statements wouldn't revoke a…
Q: I don't have any family members that live close by. How can I find someone to serve as executor? Can the attorney act as executor?
Q: What is the best way to keep my family from fighting over my will? Should I put something to my will that disinherits any family member who causes problems? Should I just leave everything to one person and let him distribute everything?
Q: I have a will that leaves everything to my husband and then to my children. Are my two stepchildren included in the will or do I need to amend it? Will it make a difference if I adopt my stepchildren?
Q: What is the best way to leave my home to my children?
Q: I have a living trust that I want to change. Do I need an attorney to draw up a new trust or can I copy the trust and make the changes that I want and have it notarized?
Q: My grandson and his wife have had their first child. To make sure that they get a will, I have offered to pay for it. Are there any other estate planning documents that new parents should have?
Q: My father passed away a few years ago. While digging in some old boxes, I found a stock certificate. How do I found out if this certificate is still good? If it is good, what do I do with it?
Q: After I die, I want to be cremated. However, one of my kids has already said she won't let that happen and she will fight to make sure that I am buried next to her father.
Q: You’ve written that probate laws vary from state to state and that Indiana’s laws can’t control property in another state. If that’s the case, how can an Indiana will control property located in another state? Do you need a will executed in the other state also?
Q: If you want to disinherit a person in a will, should you still leave them $1 to make it legal?
Q: After my parents die, I am the trustee of their trust. I know I have to have their property appraised. The home and the bank accounts will be easy to appraise, but what about the other property? How do I value the personal property and the stocks and bonds?
Q: I would like to establish a trust for each of my grandchildren, but I’m concerned about the cost. Is there a way to set up a trust for them without a lot of expense?
Q: My wife and I have been considering setting up a trust. However, when we research them, it seems like there are 100 different types of trusts. Some of them seem to do the same thing only have different names. How do we know which type of trust we should use?
Q: Didn’t Indiana revoke the inheritance tax?
Q: What happens if I leave my property to someone in my will but give it away to someone else while I’m alive? Should I draw up a new will?
Q: My estate basically consists of my house and my bank account. My kids are on the house already. If I divide the bank accounts into three equal accounts and name one child on each account, will that separate my estate equally? Do I still need a will?
Q: If I have a bank account in an Illinois bank, will it still be subject to Indiana Inheritance Tax?
My buddy Bill took me to a Jackson Browne concert this past weekend. Bill and I grew up together in the old neighborhood. We don't get to see each other as much as we should, which is kind of sad since we always have a good time when we do.
Q: It's been almost a year since my mother passed away and her trust still hasn't distributed out the money to the beneficiaries. Aren't trusts supposed to speed up the process? I almost feel like probate would have been faster.
I just finished reading a book by Michael Schumacher called the "Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
Q: I am an Indiana resident with an Indiana will. My wife and I also own a home in Michigan that we use on weekends. Do we need to create Michigan wills for the Michigan home?
Q: I have been named power of attorney for my mother. How do I start?
Q: Since I gave my son power of attorney, do I still need a will?
Q: My will says that my son's share is held in trust until he is 25. What if he is married by 23 and has a baby? Does he still have to wait until he is 25 to get the money?
Q: What is the fee for filing a will?
I am a member of the Probate, Trust and Real Property section of the Indiana State Bar association.
Q: My sister, who lives in Illinois, told me told me a trust automatically rules out probate and taxes. I told her it may rule out probate but not taxes. She insists I am wrong. Which of us is right?
Q: I have a trust that I want to make major changes to. Is it OK to just ask my attorney to draw up a new trust?
Because of the tragedy in Tucson, some of you may not have noticed that America lost a hero. Major Dick Winters was a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and was one of my personal heroes.
Q: I was looking at the Indiana Inheritance Tax form. It appears that a direct lineal descendant receives a $100,000 exemption while a sibling only receives a $500 exemption, which is next to nothing. Is this correct?
Q: I created a revocable trust this year and titled all of my accounts in it. How will this affect my tax returns?
Q: I am single with one adult child. For various reasons, I don't want to leave everything to my son. I want to leave something to a friend with instructions on disbursing funds to my granddaughter. Can I do that and will it stand up in court?
As I drove down 109th Avenue in Crown Point earlier this week, the car ahead of me moved over to the right-hand lane to enter onto the beautiful and handy new Interstate 65 on ramp to go northbound. At the last minute, the car swerved back into may lane.
The elections are over and it looks like some big changes are in store. As I sit here writing this column, I'm wondering how this will affect my line of work. Neither party seems to have enough votes to get everything they want, but I'm not sure they feel like working together either.
Q: Why can't I name more than one of my children executors of my will? I want both of them to be involved.
This past week, I had a couple of opportunities to address one of the basic misunderstandings of estate planning: probate avoidance versus tax avoidance.
Q: My father's will provided that everything was to be divided equally between my brother and me. However, there were two accounts that went directly to my brother which he didn't split. The attorney said there was nothing I could do. If the will said everything is divided equally, why weren…
Q: My wife and I created our wills when our first child was born. We are expecting a second child soon. Is there anything we should do to our will?
A couple of weeks ago, I touched on some of the ways people transfer title to a home while retaining the right to live in it during their lifetime. Although the column mostly discussed current transfers of interests, I mentioned Transfer of Death deeds (TOD deeds).
It's time to catch up on some of the questions that readers have sent me.
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