Bloomington, Indiana Estate & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Probate

When you pass away, your family may need to visit a probate court in order to claim their inheritance. This can happen if you own property (like a house, car, bank account, investment account, or other asset) in only your name. Although having a will is a good basic form of planning, a will does not avoid probate. Instead, a will simply lets you inform the probate court of your wishes - your family still has to go through the probate process to make those wishes legal.

Now that you have an idea of why probate might be necessary, here are 3 key reasons why you want to avoid probate if at all possible.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

3 Tips for Overwhelmed Executors

While it is an honor to be named as an executor of a will or estate, it can also be a sobering and daunting responsibility. Being an executor (sometimes called a personal representative) requires a high level of organization, foresight, and attention to detail to meet responsibilities and ensure that all beneficiaries receive the assets to which they are entitled. If you’ve found yourself in the position of “overwhelmed executor,” here are some tips to lighten the load.

1.  Get professional help from an experienced attorney.
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Your Estate Planning Binder: Tips for Proper Care and Maintenance

You finally crossed “getting your estate plan done” off your list, and you’ve (rightly) breathed a huge sigh of relief. By tackling this challenge, you’ve not only established protections for your loved ones and legacy, but you’ve also freed up some important “mental space” that had previously been preoccupied.

Once you create the documents that make up your estate plan, your estate planning attorney will likely prepare a binder containing all pertinent documentation. This estate planning binder is critical because it provides key information regarding your intentions after you pass away or if you become incapacitated. Once your trust is fully funded, your binder should also contain information about your assets.

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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Did you include your grandkids in your will? 5 Tips to Avoid Common Problems.

As we build wealth, we naturally desire to pass that financial stability to our offspring. With the grandkids, especially, we often share a special bond that makes us want to provide well for their future. However, that bond can actually turn into a weakness if proper precautions aren’t set in place. If you’re planning to include the grandchildren in your will, here are five potential dangers to watch for, and ways you can avoid them.


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Friday, January 27, 2017

Our Web Site Selected as 1 of the 50 Best Law Firm Websites

Recently I became aware that our website was included on the list of 50 of the Best Law Firm Website Designs as selected by InBound Law Marketing. Although this list was compiled in 2016 I just recently became aware of it. I certainly think our recently redesigned website is one of the better ones out there and it is nice to know that others do as well, especially a company in the business of website marketing.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

5 Things Every New Mother Needs to Know About Wills

As a new mother, you naturally want to ensure your new baby’s future in every way. For many new mothers, infancy is a time for celebrating new life, and making a will is the last thing on their minds. For others, the process of bringing new life into the world sparks intense feelings of wanting control and needing organization. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, you might be struggling to figure out what steps you need to take to protect your children’s future should the unthinkable happen. Here are five key things every new mother should know about wills.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

5 Mistakes Made by Successor Trustees (and How to Prevent Them)

5 Mistakes Made by Successor Trustees (and How to Prevent Them)

 When establishing a trust, you need to give serious thought to choosing your successor trustee—the person who will administer your trust once you’re no longer able to do so. This individual ideally should be:

 ●Someone you trust implicitly.

●Someone who is organized, responsible and meticulous.

●Someone who can remain steadfast to your wishes in the face of family disagreements and other disputes regarding the trust.

That said, even the most capable, well-intentioned successor trustees can make mistakes when managing affairs.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Want to Give the Kids an Early Inheritance - 4 Things to Consider

Want to Give the Kids an Early Inheritance? 4 Things to Consider

If you’re thinking about giving your children their inheritance early, you’re not alone. A recent

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Creditor Protection for IRAs & Beneficiaries

 I recently saw an article that discusses creditor protection for IRAs and beneficiaries. Most clients, and many advisors, are still unaware that an inherited IRA is not protected against claims of the beneficiary's creditors. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court made this ruling.
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What To Do After a Loved One Dies

If you've been appointed an executor of a loved one's estate, or a successor trustee, and that person dies, your grief – not to mention your to-do list, including tasks ranging from planning the funeral, coordinating relatives coming in from out of town and (eventually) meeting with a trust administration or probate lawyer – can be quite overwhelming. First and foremost, take care of yourself during this emotional time.

To help you with the “business” end of things, here’s a quick checklist of crucial details that will make the trip to our office to handle the legal affairs easier. I know it can be difficult, but some of these things have a deadline, so make sure that you reach out sooner rather than later:

● Secure the deceased's personal property (vehicle, home, business, etc.).

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Friday, December 16, 2016

3 Celebrity Probate Disasters and Tragic Lessons

With extreme wealth accumulated, one would assume that celebrities would take steps to protect their estates. But think again: Some of the world’s richest and most famous people enter the pearly gates with no estate plan in place, while others have made estate planning mistakes that tied their fortunes and heirs up for years in court. Let’s take a look at three high-profile celebrity probate disasters and discover what lessons we can learn from them.

1. Tom Carvel, The Ice Cream Man

As the man who invented soft-serve ice cream and established the first franchise business in America, Tom Carvel had a net worth of up to $200 million when he died in 1990.
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