Charles N. Doberneck

Subtitle

Wills 

Most people understand that a will is a written instrument that states the wishes of the maker of the will concerning the distribution of the maker’s property.  But a will can accomplish so much more—such as naming the person of your choice to carry out the terms of your will (in Indiana, that person is referred to as your “personal representative”), naming a guardian for your minor children, and creating a trust, or trusts, to provide for the on-going needs of your surviving spouse or your surviving children (particularly minor children), and authorize the administration of your estate without court supervision.  Not every written expression of a person’s wishes concerning the disposition of his or her property qualifies as a “will.”  The requirements for a valid will in Indiana are regulated by law, and in the absence of a valid will, your property must be distributed under the rules established by the state of Indiana, a court will appoint a personal representative to administer your estate and appoint a guardian for your minor children, and your estate may have to be administered under court supervision—all of which may vary substantially from what you would intend and at greater expense.....than if you had taken the time to make a valid will.  For most people, a will is the foundation of an effective estate plan.  Wills are not just for the elderly or for people with a terminal illness.  Every adult with even modest property, and particularly persons who have children, should have a will that provides for the disposition of their property to their intended beneficiaries.  Clients who intend to travel by airplanes often take that occasion to contact an attorney to make a will prior to taking a trip, but the truth is that a person is in greater danger of dying in a car accident on the way to work or to the mall, or from a fall or accident at home than traveling in an airplane.  For your peace of mind and the protection of your loved ones, the best time to create or update your will is NOW.