Preparing Legally for Coronavirus
The current national emergency as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection has resulted in a significant disruption in daily life. Making sure your Coronavirus preparation plan includes necessary legal preparedness is critical to avoid unnecessary disruption.
How can you include legal preparedness in your Coronavirus, or COVID-19, preparation plan? Making sure your Power of Attorney (POA) and Health Care Representative documents, if you have them, are current and up-to-date. If you don’t have a POA or Health Care Rep., now may the best perfect time to have both in place for your peace of mind during the Coronavirus outbreak. Updated Wills, Living Wills and Trusts are also important.
Stidham Legal is here to guide you through the necessary legal documents to in this Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. We offer virtual visits so you don’t need to leave your home. We also provide clients prompt turnaround so they can have their updated documents often within 24 hours.
Stidham Legal provides you clear, upfront pricing for your Coronavirus preparedness needs.
- Wills: $250
- Power of Attorney: $100
- Living Will: $75
- Health Care Rep.: $75
- Power of Attorney Package (POA, Living Will, Health Care Rep.): $200
- Trust: $500
- Transfer on Death Deed: $150
In Indiana, a Last Will and Testament is the cornerstone legal document of most estate plans. In essence, it directs who will receive your money and property when you die as well as names a person to take charge of your estate (the personal representative). Without a will, state law and the courts can dictate who receives your property.
An Indiana estate trust is an arrangement that allows your loved ones to avoid probate while giving you added controls over how your assets are distributed. Trusts can be arranged in a variety of ways and can specify how and when the assets pass to the beneficiaries. Trusts generally allow a quick transfer of assets and can save time, fees and reduce the burden on your loved ones.
Power of Attorney
An Indiana Power of Attorney (POA) is a legal document in which you designate another person (the attorney-in-fact) to act on your behalf to make decisions in individual matters or in all matters (general POA). A Power of Attorney can either have immediate effect, meaning your attorney-in-fact can act at any time, or “springing,” meaning your attorney-in-fact cannot act until you are incapacitated in some way.
Health Care Rep.
An Indiana Healthcare Representative is a person you name in your emergency, critical, and advance care plan to make medical treatment decisions for you if you become too sick or injured to make or communicate those decisions. Similar to an Indiana Power of Attorney except a Healthcare Rep. is specific to medical matters.
A Living Will allows you to make decisions regarding your end-of-life medical treatment such as nutrition/hydration, palliative care, and organ/tissue donation. Most people create them in order to maintain control of end-of-life treatment and to relieve the burden of making tough decisions from loved ones.
Transfer on Death Deed
For many of the us, our home is the most valuable asset we have. An Indiana Transfer on Death Deed helps individuals avoid the costly, time-consuming probate process by setting up your home to transfer to your designated heirs upon your passing. The ToD Deed does not affect your current ownership, allowing you to sell or refinance your home, and does not open your home to liability because of your heirs.
Stidham Legal, your Indiana Probate Attorney, guides you through the court-supervised process that determines the value of the decedent’s assets, paying off debts and taxes, and distributing the remainder of the estate to beneficiaries, either pursuant to a will or by statute. Even with a will, probate can be a challenge to navigate. Having an experienced Indiana estate planning attorney in your corner can ensure every step goes smoothly, and the best possible outcome is achieved.
Important Issues in Indiana Estate and Probate Law Matters
Do I really need a will?
Generally speaking, most people should have a will or other estate plan in place at their death to assist their loved ones in transitioning their property. Having a will allows the person making the will the control of naming the person or entity getting their property instead of leaving it to Indiana law or courts.
Do I have to be a high-wealth individual to have a trust?
An Indiana trust is not only for high-wealth individuals. The most important feature of a trust is its ability to relieve your loved ones of the burden of the court-administered probate process. Probate is triggered when a tangible asset, such as a home or bank account, remains in the name of a deceased person and needs to be transferred to heirs.
Can I make decisions even after signing a Power of Attorney?
Yes. Even if you nominate someone else to make decisions for you (whether the power becomes effective immediately or upon disability), you still retain the power to overrule any decisions you wish. A Power of Attorney is not a guardianship and therefore you retain the right to make decisions which conflict with the agent you nominate assuming you have the legal capacity to do so. You can also revoke a Power of Attorney.
Who decides I am “incapacitated” for a springing POA?
If your Power of Attorney is “springing,” then your agent can only act upon your incapacity. For Indiana Powers of Attorney with springing powers, incapacity is determined by your attending physician or medical doctor.
Do I need both a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Representative?
While similar, an Indiana Power of Attorney and Indiana Healthcare Representative achieve different goals. A Power of Attorney allows you to designate an agent to act on your behalf typically for financial and property matters. A Healthcare Representative is an agent you designate to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Who should get a copy of my Living Will?
After your living will is created, review it with your doctor. After creation and review, you should keep the original document in a safe but easily accessible place, give a copy to your healthcare representative and discuss your wishes with your family.
Does a surviving spouse avoid probate in Indiana?
Under Indiana probate law being the surviving spouse does not mean you can automatically avoid the probate process. Assets which are in a deceased spouse’s name only may need to go through probate.
My loved one passed away and I’m being told I need to “open an estate,” what does that mean?
In Indiana, “opening an estate” means starting the court-administered probate process. While each case is different, and is best navigated with an Indiana estate attorney, the typical process consists of: 1) Petitioning the court to open the estate; 2) Providing legal notice of the death to interested parties; 3) Gathering assets and paying debts; 4) Submitting a final inventory to the Court; and 5) Closing the estate and distributing any inheritance to heirs.