Last Will or A Will
Last Will and Testament should provide simple, straightforward directions to your surviving
loved ones, and can be used to give specific personal property items, monetary gifts, real estate
& other assets to individuals or even charities. A Will allows you to put in writing your wishes on
how to distribute your assets and wrap up your affairs. One of the most important instructions in
your Will, is who will become the guardian of your minor children.
A Will should also name a “personal representative” to carry out the terms of your Will. A
personal representative will work with the estate attorney by gathering all your assets, ensuring
minor children go to the named guardian, ensure assets go to the proper designated people in
your will, and determine if an estate needs to be opened. The 1st task of a personal
representative is to petition the court to appoint them as the personal representative. This is
done at the time they probate the Will and petition to administer the estate/open the estate. Not
all Wills need to go through the court process. This will depend on the type and value of your
assets at death and other factors. Choosing a personal representative is very important. You
want to choose someone you trust, someone who will follow your wishes, and usually someone
who lives in the state of Indiana.
Choosing The Right Person(s) For Your Will
Your Will can also be used to name a guardian for your minor children, create a trust for family
members who are too young or incapacitated to handle direct gifts, and even provide for the
care and financial needs of family pets. If you leave no Will at all the laws of the state will be
instrumental in determining who will be the guardian for your minor children. The unintended
result could be 2 or more family members fighting over who should be the guardian of your
minor children. The winner may not be the person or persons you wanted your children to go to.
It can be difficult to decide who to name as a personal representative or even a guardian for
your minor children. In fact, we see clients delay drafting their Will for this very reason. While we
cannot name someone for you, or tell you who to name, we will guide you through the thought
process of things to consider when naming a guardian. You can always change your Will if
circumstances change with you or change with your named personal representative, guardian,
or beneficiary. If a beneficiary is on Social Security or receives other governmental assistance,
inheriting your assets may negatively affect what he or she receives from Social Security or
other governmental assistance.
Excluding someone from inheriting your assets or leaving specific items to someone can also be
done in your Will. You are able to leave specific items to a person or even a charity in your Will.
You may also specifically exclude someone who may otherwise be entitled, so they do not take
a share of any of your assets. However, there are limitations in the event you want to exclude
your spouse and Indiana Law should be carefully considered before excluding a spouse. An
excluded spouse has certain rights under Indiana law. This is known as the spousal election,
surviving spouse laws, and widows allowance laws.
Call Laura J. Wyatt, P.C. Attorney at Law today for an appointment at (219) 921-1004