A will is a document in which an individual can direct the administration and distribution of his or her estate. When you prepare your will, you specify what you would like to have happen with your assets, including distribution of funds, and guardianship of minor children. A will has several advantages when compared to other forms of estate planning such as living trusts.
Indiana's minimum requirements to execute a Will are fairly simple. A formal Will can be attested by two witnesses, who should not be named as executor or as a beneficiary. A Will effects all assets that belong to you at the time of your death. A Will is generally more simple than a Revocable Living Trust, and is usually significantly less expensive to have professionally prepared.
Testamentary Trusts: If you need for your Will to delay the distribution to one or more beneficiaries until they reach a specified age or some other event, then your Will must include what is called a "Testamentary Trust." This form of Trust has many drawbacks which, with proper Estate Planning, can be avoided. After the Will goes through probate and the administration of the probate estate is complete, the testamentary trust receives the assets which were allocated to it. Testamentary Trusts are also subject to continuing court supervision beyond the initial probate proceedings. Certain tasks are then assigned the Trustee such as annual accounting to the Court and periodic hearings. These time and cost issues negatively impact the value of the estate.
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