Category: Wills

Transfer on Death Deed

A transfer on death deed (aka TOD or TODD) can be used to name a beneficiary for your real estate upon your death. You, as the owner, retain full ownership and responsibility for the property, including paying property taxes and filing for any applicable exemptions. The actual transfer of ownership is not completed until the owner’s passing. The deed must name the beneficiary, after all, that is the reason for doing the deed. It must still be properly recorded in the county where the real estate is located. The deed can be revoked or changed at any time prior to the owner’s passing.

If the property is sold before the owner’s death, then the beneficiary has no future rights to the property even if a valid TOD was recorded. It is the same as in a Will or any other deed, only what is owned can be conveyed or transferred, and when the owner sells the land they cannot also convey it to a beneficiary as they no longer retain ownership. Another consideration is when the property is held jointly such as tenants in the entirety, then both owners must convey the property to the same beneficiary, otherwise, the TOD is void.

By way of the automatic transfer upon death, the property is no longer part of the deceased’s estate. Using this type of deed can be beneficial in eliminating the need to open an estate and go through the probate process. In general, you must open an estate and go through probate if the value of the estate is $50,000 or more. If you are interested in discussing the possible benefits a transfer on death deed may be to your estate plan, please contact Perry Law Office for a free consultation.

Why you should not draft a Will online

There are many websites where you can draft your Will, but do you really know what you are getting? Always remember, you get what you pay for.

Before you have some website create important Estate Planning documents for you, consider the following:

1. Generic Documents. Many of the sites offer generic documents that are intended to be a “one size fits all”. When it comes to estate planning, this is not the time for you to try on a “one size fits all” document. You may have very specific needs that cannot be addressed in the generic document. What if you want to leave someone out of your will? What if you want to leave a specific item to someone? What if you want to make sure if a child predeceases you that your grandchild gets their share? These documents are often templates and may or may not allow you to address your questions and concerns.

2. Every state has different legal requirements. Each states has its own tax inheritance laws, as well as certain requirements to make a valid Will. Are you confident that the generic forms cover your state’s requirements? In Indiana, you must be 18 years old, of sound mind and the Will must be signed by two disinterested witnesses. The website does not offer you witnesses to sign your Will, so even when you are done printing there are still steps to be followed to make sure the Will is valid.

3. Consulting an attorney? Many of these sites do not have an attorney walking you through the process, or even offer to have an attorney contact you before drafting your documents. If you have questions there is little guidance. Often you will even find a disclaimer that this is not to be considered legal advice. Who will you ask the important questions of what can I and what can’t I put in a Will? Or how do leave or specifically not leave someone, something? What is best you, based on your current martial, familiar, or financial situation? There are various types of of Wills and Trusts, depending on your specific needs that you should consider before choosing a Will.

4. Making changes. Many times your Will is not retained by the website and any changes you may want to make requires you to start over. Before you make those changes, are they even necessary? The website will not be able to advise you on whether changes are necessary or not.

5. You retain your own Will. Sounds great, right? What happens if you spill your morning coffee on the file you just safely placed your Will in? What happens if you have a fire? Or the safe with your Will was just stolen? Your original Will is now gone and cannot be replaced. You will have to go online and start over, and probably pay the cost again to recreate it. Most courts require the original Will, not a copy in order to probate it. As a courtesy to our client’s, we retain your original Will in a fire proof safe, and you are welcome to it at any time.

6. Other essential Estate Planning documents. Along with a Will, do you have a Power of Attorney? Did you know a Will only kicks in after death? What if you or your significant other becomes incapacitated? Who will make your, financial and medical decisions? These are documents we strongly suggest everyone have. See if the website you are one explains the need for a Power of Attorney and that there are different types, financial and health care. An experienced attorney can explain each of these to you and when and how they may come into play, so you may make an informed decision on whether you need them or not.

We are experienced attorneys at Perry Law Office and offer free phone consultations. We will happily walk you through the process and answer all of your questions and resolve any of your issues. We then draft your Estate Planning documents to fit your individual needs. We, at Perry Law Office, will explain the various documents that everyone should have along with a valid Will.

Wills, Financial Power of Attorneys, Health Care Power of Attorneys, and Living Wills, are important documents and choosing the right combination of estate planning documents can be daunting. Do you need all of these? Maybe. Let’s talk about it and decide what is the appropriate for your current needs. There are also reasons that arise that would cause you to update your plan, and you should be reviewing it with every major life change. Since our attorneys have been working with you from the beginning, they will help you make changes to your plan with ease and advise you on whether an updated Will or Power of Attorney is necessary for you.

Perry Law Office, your local Fort Wayne attorneys. Call us today, 260-483-3110

Do you know these key Estate and Probate terms?

Planning your estate or dealing with an estate of a loved one after they have passed could have your head swimming with “legal terminology”. We at, Perry Law Office, understand that this process can be daunting and sometimes flat out confusing. Some of these terms and phrases may be familiar to you, while others may be completely foreign. Here are few key terms that you may come across:

Administration: The process of opening an estate with the court and distributing assets.

Assets: Anything that is owned! Property, vehicles, cash, bank accounts, jewelry, antiques are all assets.

Beneficiaries: Person(s), organization or charity that will receive the assets of the deceased

Creditors: Anyone the decedent owed money

Deceased or Decedent: Person who has passed away

Durable Power of Attorney- also known as a POA or power of attorney, a document that gives someone else the power to act on your behalf to make certain financial decisions or it can also appoint a Health Care Representative to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to.

Estate: Everything left by an individual at their death, including assets and debts

Executor: The person(s) named to wrap up a decedent’s affairs and distribute the assets. Commonly known as Personal Representative in Indiana

Fiduciary: Person having the legal duty to act primarily for another’s benefit. Implies great confidence and trust, and a high degree of good faith. Usually associated with a trustee, but
personal representatives also have the legal duty to properly administer the estate.

Grantor: The person who sets up or creates the trust. The person whose trust it is. Also called creator, settlor, trustor, donor or trustmaker.

Irrevocable Trust: A trust that cannot be changed (revoked) or cancelled once it is set up. Opposite of revocable trust.

Intestate: passing without a Will. State laws will determine how the assets are distributed, not the wishes of the deceased.

Living Trust: A written legal document that creates an entity to which you transfer ownership of your assets. Contains your instructions for managing your assets during your lifetime and for
their distribution upon your incapacity or death. Avoids probate at death and court control of assets at incapacity. Also called a revocable inter vivos trust. A trust created during one’s lifetime.

Living Will: A written document that states you intentions to have life prolonging measures taken or your wish not to be kept alive by artificial means when the illness or injury is terminal. The name is a bit misleading as it has nothing to do with your Last Will and Testament.

Per Capita: A way of distributing your estate so that your surviving descendants will share equally, regardless of their generation. I.e. there are four siblings that were to share equally in quarters, one sibling passes and now the three surviving siblings share in thirds.

Per Stirpes: A way of distributing your estate so that your descendants and their heirs share the pre-deceased descendants portion of the estate. If one of your beneficiaries passes before you, then their children would take their share. I.e. there are four siblings that were to share equally in quarters, one sibling passes, and the sibling that passes has two children. The three siblings still each get a quarter, and the two children share the last quarter. Good way to give something to grandchildren if their parent’s have passed.

Personal Property: Includes items that can be moved, like clothing, jewelry, money, and vehicles. (for land or real estate see Real Property)

Personal Representative: The person(s) named to wrap up deceased’s affairs and distribute the assets. You may have heard this called an executor or administrator.

Power of attorney: A document you sign giving authority for someone else to act on your behalf. Could be financial, healthcare, or even for a limited purpose such as purchasing property for you in your absence. To survive incapacity you must have a Durable Power of Attorney.

Probate: The legal process of validating a Will with the court and wrapping up affairs of the deceased.

Real Property: Land, houses/homes, or other buildings

Revocable Trust: A trust set up in which the person setting it up can change or cancel it. This is a good way to avoid probate.

Testate: Person who dies with a Will

Trust: An entity that holds assets for the benefit of certain other persons or entities.

Will: A written document providing instructions for distributing your assets and estate. You can make it vague/simple (equally to my children) or as detailed as you like (gun collection to my son Jim, my 1965 Chevy Camera to my daughter Sarah, etc). This is also called Last Will and Testament.

Let the attorneys at Perry Law Office, help you through this maze of legal terminology and confusion. We are here to help. Give us a call at 260-483-3110 and ask to speak with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today. As always, there is a free consultation.

Perry Law Office has been named one of the best Estate Planning Lawyers in Fort Wayne by threebestrated.com!

We would like to congratulate our Attorneys and Staff for helping Perry Law Office, P.C. as being named one of the best Estate Planning Lawyers in Fort Wayne by ThreeBestRated.com. Check us out!

We, at Perry Law Office strive to provide the best services and at affordable prices. If you need a Will, Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, or Living Will please reach out to us today and let an experienced lawyer at Perry Law Office help you determine what the best estate plan is for you. At Perry Law Office, we understand the importance of customizing your estate plan for your needs. To learn more information please go to our website or call us today 260-483-3110!

 

Thank you

Perry Law Office, P.C.
www.perryoffice.net
260-483-3110

Have you “mapped out” your assets for your heirs?

You probably have a Last Will and Testament describing how assets are to be distributed, but have you made a list of where those assets can be found? You want to make sure your family is able to locate everything you have worked so very hard for. An asset inventory is a simple list which makes it easier on your loved ones by telling them exactly where to find all your assets and various accounts.

You may have numerous bank accounts with different banking institutions, cash, collectibles, online accounts, emails, retirement plans, insurance policies, and perhaps even receive “paperless” statements only via email. It is a good idea to leave a list of passwords, account numbers and locations. Your asset inventory may include:

  • Bank and investment accounts
  • Safe Deposit Box
  • Insurance and annuity policies
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Deeds and titles
  • Retirement Accounts (IRA, 401K, etc)
  • Life Insurance policies (any post-death benefits)
  • Cash, jewelry, valuables
  • Email and online accounts with passwords.
  • Certain bills or premiums you pay may also be included
  • Combinations to a safe or location of a safe key

This is a very important Estate Planning step, that most people forget about. Doing this very simple step, could save your loved ones hours of time and energy trying to locate and organize all your varous assets.

After you have mapped it all out, tell a loved one where you are going to keep the list. Generally you keep it in your safe along with your Will and other important documents (remember you should give someone the combination to your safe or a way to access it). Remember to periodically update your asset inventory, and always update your Will with major life events. Call Perry Law Office now and our experienced attorneys will help you decide if now is the time to make changes to your Will or help you with your other Estate Planning needs.

Do I need a Will?

Every adult person should probably have a Will or some other estate plan that they have thought about and implemented. A Will is perhaps the most common estate planning device and is one of the simplest and easiest to implement. Most people do not think about getting a Will until an event in their life causes them to feel the need to do so. Some of the most common calls, we at Perry Law Office often get are calls from newlyweds, couples or individuals that have just had or are expecting their first child, someone in bad or deteriorating health, or from an adult child regarding their mother or father who has put it off way to long. The Attorneys at Perry Law office have also had calls from people who did not consider the need for an estate plan until they were getting ready to go on a trip. All of these are great reasons to start thinking about a Will. However, it is best, to consider some sort of an estate plan early in your adult life, but you are never to old to start this process either. You never know what the future might bring, and if you die without a Will or other estate plan your assets might not be distributed to the persons that you want. For example, an adult unmarried individual that has no children and dies without a Will or other estate plan would have their assets distributed to their parents, and their brothers and sisters. This may or may not be what they would actually want to happen. A Will is a easy to dictate where your assets go and who gets them. People are often surprised at how easy, and inexpensive it is to create a simple estate plan. They often comment that if they had known it would be this easy they would have done it much earlier. Call Perry Law Office today and speak to one of our experience lawyers for a free telephone consultation to determine if now is the right time for you to consider a Will, or some other type of estate plan.  

 

Importance of Estate Planning: “WHAT IF” ~ Wills

No one wants to think about the “what ifs”. Therefore, most people ignore them and do not plan ahead. Do NOT be one of those people when it comes to preparing your Last Will and Testament. Your eventual death is not a “what if” it is a when. Hopefully, it is a long time from now, but “what if” that is not the case. And even if it is, why not be prepared now?

Hopefully, it is a long time from now, but “what if” that is not the case. And even if it is, why not be prepared now?  A Last Will only comes into play after an individual passes away. A Will is NOT only for you, but also for your loved ones that you leave behind. What if, I get in an accident on the way home from work? Who will take care of my children?  If you have minor children or pets, a Will is a great way to ensure they are in good hands if you unexpectedly pass away. Naming a guardian is one of the most important things you can do as a parent.

A Will also allows you to more easily pass on your assets after your death to those you love. It is a legal document that is essential to any estate plan. A Last Will ensures that your children or other loved ones receive your real and personal property. It allows a legal means for your loved ones to more easily navigate the tricky law of Estates and Probate. Do not leave your loved ones unprepared upon your death, plan ahead and contact the Fort Wayne lawyers at Perry Law Office to help create a Will that meets your specific needs.