FAQ: Wills


Wills are important and complex estate planning tools, my team at Kent A. Jeffirs, Attorney at Law, PC can explain their benefits and disadvantages. If you do not find the answers to your questions about wills or other estate planning matters, please do not hesitate to contact my firm.

What is a will?
A will is an estate planning tool that allows you to determine how your property will be distributed after you pass and name a guardian to care for minor children. In a will you can also select a personal representative, formerly referred to as an executor, to carry out your last wishes. Additionally, a will may save your loved ones times and money by allowing your estate undergo unsupervised administration in probate court.

Who needs a will?
You must be 18 years of age or older and of sound mind to create a will. If you are parent, a will can help ensure that your minor children will be properly cared for by guardians you select. Adults with children from a previous marriage can also give their children a large portion of their estate with a will. Those with significant assets can benefit from a will to ensure that their property is distributed to their chosen beneficiaries. Elderly individuals and those in poor health should also create a will.

Can I alter my will?
A will can be changed as many times as you wish and whenever you want to change it. Changes to a will must be made with the same standards involved when the will was originally created, including being signed and witnessed. Because they need to be in strict accordance to be valid, you may benefit from the presence of a Crown Point estate planning attorney.

Can I leave my property to whomever I want?
Although you can leave your assets to whomever you choose under your will, your property may not be distributed to the individuals you named in some circumstances. For example, it is possible for your will to exclude your spouse, but the State of Indiana will allow the spouse to take a portion of the estate through an “elective share”. Also, if you leave property under your will to your “children,” that term only includes your natural or adopted children unless your will specifically provides otherwise. There are other rules that our Crown Point estate planning lawyer can explain to you.

How does a will affect probate?
A will can help to speed up the probate process and may also make it less expensive for your loved ones to administer your estate. In addition to the possibility of allowing your personal representative to avoid paying a surety bond, a will can help your estate become eligible for unsupervised probate. Unsupervised probate may be a cheaper option that can save your loved ones the time, court hearings and additional expense involved in supervised probate.

Can I avoid federal estate taxes with a will?
A will can help you eliminate or reduce federal estate taxes, but it depends on the value of your estate. As of 2013, only estates worth over $5.25 million will face federal estate tax, and I can assist you in the creation of trusts and gifts to reduce the taxes. In 2013, the Indiana inheritance tax was repealed for estates of any person dying on or after January 1, 2013.

Do I need a lawyer to create a will?
If you are interested in creating a will, it may be beneficial to seek the legal assistance of a Crown Point estate planning attorney from Kent A. Jeffirs, Attorney at Law, PC. With more than 20 years of experience, I can help you create a valid will that will protect and provide for your loved ones after you are no longer able. Take advantage of my free initial consultation to learn more about how a will can benefit you.