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Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts

Reputable Merrillville Lawyers Craft Trustworthy Estate Plans

Knowledgeable Indiana attorneys help clients create custom wills and trusts

Though no one knows what the future holds, creating a thorough estate plan can give you peace of mind by preserving your assets to protect those you love. At the Law Office of Weiss, Schmidgall and Hires, P.C., in Merrillville, Indiana, our counselors explain the options for transferring your assets and decision-making authority in the event that you become incapacitated. For more than a decade, our firm has advised individuals in the Gary area and throughout Lake County and Porter County, and we look forward to advising you on the estate planning options that best meet your goals.

Meticulous advisers prepare documents for wealth transfer and medical care

Our attorneys can help you establish an estate plan that includes any or all of the following:

  • Will — Your will sets instructions for who should gain ownership of your real estate, bank accounts and other property. A will can also state who should care for your dependent children if you pass away.
  • Living will — When you are unable to express your own wishes, an advance directive guides doctors on how to proceed with your medical care. A living will can state whether you should be kept on life support and whether doctors should take extraordinary measures to prolong your life.
  • Power of attorney — With a power of attorney document, you can transfer decision-making ability to a trusted third party. A power of attorney gives your designated agent the right to make financial decisions, control your business matters, or direct your medical care.

When your instructions are documented in advance, your loved ones do not have to guess about how you would like your estate or healthcare decisions to be handled.

Skilled counselors assist with settling small estates

When the gross value of all property left by a deceased person is not more than $50,000 exclusive of liens, encumbrances and funeral expenses, it may be possible to settle his or her estate without going to probate court. In Indiana, a potential heir can simply sign an affidavit stating they are entitled to a certain asset and present the affidavit to the holder of the asset. After 45 days has passed following the death, the asset can be transferred. A small estate affidavit can be used to transfer bank accounts, cash and other personal property. However, it cannot be used to transfer real estate.

Indiana small estates — less than $100,000 — also qualify for a simplified probate procedure that allows the deceased’s named executor to carry out all specified transfers of property and then to file a closing statement with the court, sending copies to all heirs and creditors. Rarely are such small estates subject to contests or objections. Note that the assets distributed by small estate affidavit or by probate are only those that do not pass to another person by operation of law. For example, life insurance proceeds are paid automatically to the policy’s beneficiary without need of court approval.

If you’ve been named the executor in a will or are the relative of a deceased seeking to settle their estate, our attorneys can review your situation and assist you in taking the proper course of action. With our guidance, you can be confident of a timely and efficient resolution.

Contact supportive Indiana estate planning attorneys to schedule a free initial consultation

At the Law Office of Weiss, Schmidgall and Hires, P.C., in Merrillville, Indiana, we can create an estate plan based on your unique needs. To schedule your free initial consultation, call us at 219-293-8988 or contact us online. Our counselors work with clients in Gary and all across Lake County and Porter County.

Victoria Bain Attorney Photo
Victoria Bain

About Victoria Bain joined Weiss, Schmidgall & Hires as an associate attorney in 2023. She is a graduate of The University of Illinois Chicago School of Law. Victoria received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Valparaiso University. During her time in college, she taught classes to incarcerated men at the Westville Correctional Facility,…

Christopher R. Schmidgall Attorney Photo
Christopher R. Schmidgall

For more than ten years, Christopher Schmidgall has protected the lives of people who find themselves caught in the tangled machinery of criminal prosecution. With the skill and determination he’s demonstrated throughout his life, Chris offers them the help they need to get their lives back in order. Not long after graduating from Valparaiso...

Amanda C. Hires Attorney Photo
Amanda C. Hires

Following a remarkably accomplished academic career, Amanda Hires applied her record of success to servicing good people facing difficult situations. She served as a volunteer at the New Orleans Public Defender’s Office and worked intensively with prosecutors and defense attorneys while under the guidance of Judge Sheila Moss at the Lake County Superior Court...

Jessica McPheeters Attorney Photo
Jessica McPheeters

Jessica McPheeters is an associate attorney with her primary focus being in Estate Planning, Probate, Business Formation and Planning, and other general practice matters. Jessica received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics from Ball State University in 2014. Jessica then received her Juris Doctor from Valparaiso University School of Law...

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