Negotiation 101 in Mediation
14 - January - 2022
Preparing for the ultimate distribution of one’s estate can be uncomfortable. How should assets be distributed “fairly” among adult children if they have significantly different financial circumstances? Do I need a trust, and if so, why?
We understand these issues. As Indiana estate planning attorneys, we can answer questions about estate distribution matters, and can provide advice based on your unique circumstances.
You do not need to have your estate distribution planned before meeting with us.
Sometimes people feel that they need to have carefully planned how their estate will be distributed before meeting with an attorney. This does not have to be the case. Frequently, we meet with clients who are still in the process of determining how to have their assets divided among children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries (such as charitable organizations).
For example, how should assets be divided among adult children where one child is wealthy (and doesn’t not need the money), a second child who was given significant financial assistance by the parents, and a third child who is struggling financially as the result of having a handicapped child? Should each child be given an equal share, or should a different distribution be done?
What if one child provided healthcare assistance for a parent, while the other child (who lived in another state) did not provide care? Should each child receive the same amount?
If a parent is not going to provide children with an equal distribution, should they discuss this with the children, or is it better to let the children find out during the probate process?
We meet with clients to discuss these types of issues, and, if desired, provide advice based upon our experience as estate planning lawyers so that our clients can make the informed decisions that are right for them.
While you may not be entirely sure how you want your assets to be divided, if you die without a will in Indiana the state statutes, and not you, will determine how all of your assets are divided. These statutes will not take into account how you may have wanted heirlooms or items of particular sentimental value to be distributed.
When the distribution of these types of items is not provided for by a will or a trust, it can cause disappointment, resentment, and fighting among children and beneficiaries over these items. These problems can be easily avoided by a clearly crafted will or trust that specifies how these items should be distributed.
If you do not already have an estate plan in place, such as a will or trust, please call our firm. We will be happy to meet with you so that we can learn about your particular financial circumstances and estate planning needs. We can then prepare the appropriate documents that provide for the distribution of your estate in accordance with your asset distribution wishes.