Estate planning lawyers in Fort Wayne protect your loved ones
At Locke & Witte, we encourage thoughtful and careful estate planning to protect your family and loved ones should you die or become incapacitated. Our Fort Wayne attorneys provide experienced assistance with the following documents:
- Last will and testament. The purpose of a will is to name your beneficiaries and the executor who is responsible for administering your estate. The last will and testament only disposes of probate assets, which are assets held in one person’s name alone. Non-probate assets already have a beneficiary (e.g., life insurance proceeds, real estate held jointly and personal property held jointly). There are several decisions you need to make:
- Who are your beneficiaries?
- Who is your initial and successor executor?
- Will your beneficiaries receive their gifts outright or in trust?
- Who will be guardian and successor guardian for your children and estate?
- General durable power of attorney. If you become incapacitated, you want this document to name your agent and successor agent, to determine if this document goes into effect on the date it is signed or upon incapacity, and to choose the guardian over you and your estate.
- Durable power of attorney to make gifts. This power of attorney allows you to choose an agent to make annual gifts allowable under the gift tax and to become eligible for Medicaid.
- Power of attorney with respect to healthcare. This power of attorney allows you to name someone to make certain health care and post-death decisions dealing with the making of anatomical gifts, requesting an autopsy, and making your funeral arrangements.
- Appointment of a health care representative. This document allows you to name a representative to make all health care decisions for you if you are unable to make them yourself.
- Revocable trust agreement. This agreement allows you to title your assets in the name of the trust. Otherwise, they would be probate assets. To avoid the probate court process, you need to choose beneficiaries of the trust, an initial trustee and successor trustee, and whether the beneficiaries will receive the gifts outright or in some other fashion described in the trust.