Estate Planning And Probate: Protect Your Loved Ones And Your Assets

No matter how modest you believe your estate to be, it is worth protecting. You have worked for an entire lifetime to accumulate your assets and possessions, and you should decide how and to whom they are given when you pass on.

At Denmure & Moore, LLC, we offer highly experienced estate planning services as part of our larger elder law practice. When you work with our firm, you can be sure that your estate plan will be comprehensive, legally sound and a reflection of your wishes.

Planning Starts With A Well-Written Will

While a will is not the only estate planning tool you'll need, it is certainly the cornerstone of your estate plan. Therefore, it is critical for this document to be accurate and thorough.

Many people try to save money by writing the will themselves, often using forms they found online. This is usually a mistake that could end up costing you more money than hiring an attorney would have. A will is only useful if it is deemed valid, and mistakes or omissions could easily invalidate a will.

Other Important Aspects Of Your Estate Plan

When we meet with you, we will also discuss other elements of your estate plan, including:

Power of attorney: If you ever become mentally incapacitated (due to dementia, Alzheimer's, coma, etc.), you will be unable to tend to your own affairs. Someone will need to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. Therefore, it should be someone you trust and have personally chosen to represent you. It is also easier and cheaper to designate someone now than to have a lawyer establish guardianship once incapacity has already occurred.

A living will: Late-life medical care has become very advanced, but it comes with some difficult and expensive trade-offs. Quantity of life isn't the same as quality of life. By creating a living will, you can communicate ahead of time about your wishes for treatment and end-of-life care. You can also designate a health care decision-maker to make decisions on your behalf in any scenario that has not been covered in the living will.

A basic revocable living trust: These legal instruments offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to passing along assets to your named beneficiaries.

An irrevocable trust: This legal document is used to try and help preserve assets for Medicaid planning purposes. Many people think that a revocable trust serves the purpose of protecting assets for Medicaid planning. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Only a properly structured trust will work to protect assets.

Avoiding Probate And Saving You Money

We believe that good estate planning can save you money, in large part, by eliminating the need for probate. We also know that not every legal tool is needed or even appropriate for every client. We try to be as cost-effective as possible by choosing the right tools and strategies to maximize results and minimize the possibility of problems later on.

When Probate Is Necessary

Although avoiding probate is a primary goal of estate planning, there are times when it cannot be avoided. Often this is due to a client's omission or oversight in the estate planning process. In cases where probate is necessary, it is in your best interests to hire an experienced lawyer. Our firm works with our clients and focuses on taking as much stress and responsibility off them as possible. We work to give heirs and beneficiaries all the information they need about their rights and responsibilities.

We may also be able to save time and money through probate alternatives. For instance, if the estate's assets are less than $50,000 in value, we can often distribute estate property by using a small estate affidavit or small estate transfer. These options are faster and cheaper than the full probate process.

Contact Us For A Consultation

Denmure & Moore, LLC, is based in Aurora. We serve clients in Dearborn County and throughout southeastern Indiana. To take advantage of an initial consultation in this area, call us at 812-221-3912 or send us an email.