Estate Planning

Picture Preserving your family’s wealth for future generationsWhether you’re planning the parameters of your future medical care or establishing support for loved ones upon your death, Mayfield and Brooks, LLC can help with all aspects of trusts and estates issues, including:

  • Estate planning
  • Estate tax issues
  • Choosing the appropriate executor
  • Guardianships
  • Living wills
  • Living trusts
  • Wills drafting

Securing your legacy
You work hard for your family, so knowing that you have planned for their long-term well-being and financial security can bring you comfort. We thoroughly analyze your estate and strategize the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing
taxes, establishing guardianship for your children, caring for your pets, supporting personal philanthropic causes and protecting your loved ones.

Drafting your living will and last will and testament
A will is essential at every stage of your life. Your living will sets the parameters for medical intervention should you become
incapacitated. This assures that when you are most vulnerable, your wishes will be honored.

Your last will provides the opportunity to distribute your property, establish care for your children and otherwise express your wishes upon your death. A will is necessary if you intend to leave property to a person or entity other than a blood relative, such as a domestic partner, a friend or a charity. If you die without a will, the court determines how your property is distributed, who cares for your children and even what happens to your pet — making decisions that might not reflect your desires.

We candraft valid wills that ensure your intentions are honored.

Appointment of guardianship 

If you have minor children, your will allows you to make decisions about their future care. This is especially crucial if you are a single parent or if both parents die in a common incident. If you do not name a guardian, the court will appoint a guardian for your children and can make decisions adverse to your ultimate parenting goals. You can also make arrangements for your pets’ care in your will, including naming a guardian to take responsibility for your pets.

Contact an estate planning law firm you can trust

For estate planning services in Lafayette, Indiana and throughout Tippecanoe County, call Mayfield and Brooks, LLC at 765-423-5454 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.

Estate Planning Frequently Asked Questions:

What is estate planning?
Estate planning is a process to consider alternatives for, to think through, and to set up legally effective arrangements that would meet your specific wishes if something happens to you or those you care about. Good estate planning is more than just a simple Will. Estate planning also typically minimizes potential taxes and fees, and sets up contingency planning to make sure your wishes regarding health care treatment are followed.

On the financial side, a good estate plan coordinates what would happen with your home, your investments, your business, your life insurance, your employee benefits (such as retirement accounts), and other property in the event you became disabled or if you die.

On the personal side, a good estate plan includes directions to carry out your wishes regarding health care matters, so that if you ever are unable to give the directions yourself, someone you select would do that for you.

Does it make sense to use an attorney?
Only an attorney who regularly practices in the fields of wills, trusts, probate and estate planning is able to provide you with really sound legal advice as you put your estate plan into place. Attorneys are subject to regulation by state bar organizations, many of which have continuing education requirements and mandatory liability insurance in case the lawyer makes a mistake.

When you speak with an attorney, you can get answers to your questions.
Often the expense incurred in retaining an attorney to prepare and help you put an estate plan into place is worth hundreds of times what you and your family would pay with no planning or poor planning. It would also avoid the financial and emotional nightmares that can occur with a poorly drafted (or improper) plan.

What is an estate?
The term estate consists of all the property a person owns or controls, whether in his or her sole name, held in a partnership, in a joint ownership arrangement, or through a trust, and all other monies that would be generated on the person`s death. It includes:

  • real estate;
  • personal property
  • business interests (sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, LLC, LLP, and joint ventures)
  • powers of appointment (the right to direct who gets someone else`s property);
  • life insurance and annuity contracts, pension benefits, IRAs, 403(b)s, etc.
  • debts and obligations owed to others
  • claims you have against other people or entities

When should I start my estate plan?
The only time that you can prepare and implement an estate plan is while you are alive and have legal capacity. If you are unable to manage your own affairs or suffer from some other disability which affects your legal capacity, your estate plan may be effectively challenged by those who assert that you lacked capacity at the time the documents were created, that you were subjected to fraud, coercion or undue influence during the creation and implementation of your plan.

The best time to start an estate plan is now, while you have the capacity to do so.

Should I have an estate plan?
You should have an estate plan if:

  • You are the parent of minor children.
  • You have property that you care about.
  • You care about your health care treatment.

What sort of instructions are made as part of an estate plan?
An estate plan consists of one or more documents that set forth instructions to your personal representative, trustee, attorney-in-fact or health care representative, as the case may be.

How can an estate plan prevent a guardianship proceeding?
An estate plan uses several tools which can prevent the court from gaining jurisdiction over your affairs.

A Living Will or Directive to Physicians is used to determine if artificial life support systems are to be used or withheld.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is used to provide authority to a person, in whom you have the utmost trust and confidence, to make decisions regarding health care treatment when you are unable to provide informed consent.

A Durable Power of Attorney for Property enables you to authorize a person to act in your place and stead in the event of your incapacity; this attorney-in-fact can manage your financial affairs without the need to have intervention by the courts.

A Trust or Family Limited Partnership is used to hold property; the Trustees or Partners manage the property held by either of these entities.

Both the Trust and the Family Limited Partnership continue to manage the property even if you are incapacitated.

Thus, a properly prepared estate plan can enable you to avoid a Guardianship proceeding over your estate. Compared to the cost of a Guardianship proceeding, an estate plan can be very attractive.