Practice Areas

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practices areas

Practice Areas

We serve businesses and individuals in Indiana and Michigan in the areas of Litigation, Estate Planning, Business Law, Bankruptcy, Family Law and Real Estate.

Estate Planning & Probate

Asset Protection Planning

If you’ve either accumulated wealth or hope to, figuring out how to it is likely at the front of your mind. And then, when you want to leave it to your spouse, children, or other loved ones, how do you protect it from their creditors? Or from unforeseen events, like divorce or other misfortune?

The answer is well-rounded asset-protection planning. This could take many forms, a popular one being a trust (link to trust service page). Trusts take into account a range of factors, including the assets’ character and value, your age, your life circumstances, the risks to be avoided, and limits on how you want to use the trust to protect your assets.

While trusts are a popular option, they aren’t always the ideal choice. Each situation is unique; there is no cookie-cutter solution. We get it. That’s why we approach every case with a problem-solving mindset to create a tailor-made asset-protection plan. Plus, you get the benefit of a full-service law firm, meaning that we’ll not only approach your case from a creative mindset but also holistically.

We’ve helped hundreds of clients just like you take control through strategic planning. So take it from us: with expertise gained from decades upon decades of experience, we’ve got the legal arsenal you need to ensure your assets are protected, no matter what life throws your way.

Healthcare Directives

Eventually, life comes to a close for all of us. And part of the estate-planning process is to document your healthcare desires if you develop a terminal condition or are at some point unable to advocate for your own healthcare. Healthcare directives may include everything from whether you wish to be resuscitated to the use of life support if death is imminent.

Whether your concerns include those already mentioned or if you have other worries, we’ll help you approach each facet of your healthcare directive with a big-picture perspective while also paying attention to your precise needs.

We know that these are difficult and emotionally draining issues to process. But considering these questions beforehand will save you and your family time and avoid some emotional distress later on. With caring hearts and years of experience creating healthcare directives, we’re here to advise you about your legal healthcare options whenever you’re ready.

Powers of Attorney

What would happen to your finances if you were suddenly incapacitated? Who would make medical decisions? Pay bills? That’s where a power of attorney may be helpful. A power of attorney is a written authorization for another person, called the attorney-in-fact, to act on your behalf in business matters, private matters, or other legal situations.

There are many different kinds of powers you may grant and various restrictions you can place to limit the attorney-in-fact’s authority. But within those limitations, the attorney-in-fact has the authority to do whatever you could do, like file tax returns, pay bills, or even give financial gifts to benefactors.

Selecting the individual to serve as your attorney-in-fact is an important decision—as is outlining the limitations on their authority. With decades of experience, our knowledgeable lawyers can help you traverse this complex aspect of estate planning. We will be with you at every turn to help you establish a power of attorney and make sure all of your desires are met.

Probate

To many, the word “probate” can be a scary term. The grief of dealing with a loved one’s death is already overwhelming. Having to make decisions about that person’s estate and assets only adds to the emotional stress. That’s why the term “probate” often produces a sense of apprehension for those involved. But it doesn’t have to.

Probate is simply the judicial process by which a will—if one exists—is “proved” to be the deceased’s true last testament, the decedent’s assets are distributed, and all debts and taxes are paid. This process usually lasts six months to a year. Probate’s main goal is to correctly transfer the decedent’s assets to his or her heirs. The court is there to oversee the job the personal representative does and make sure the will’s instructions are followed.

So if you’re heading toward, or are already in the middle of, probate proceedings, we’re here to help. We’ll handle the nitty-gritty details of the process so that you can focus on the things that matter: your family, honoring your loved one’s memory, and ensuring their assets are distributed as they intended. Call us today to find out how we can help make the complex probate process a little easier.

Trusts

A trust is a written agreement between the person who creates it, known as the “grantor,” and the person who carries out the grantor’s instructions, known as the “trustee.” Trusts ensure that assets are distributed according to the grantor’s wishes and may include what’s known as “asset protection.” While a properly drafted trust is in effect, the trust’s assets generally cannot be reached by any beneficiaries’ creditors, at least not until the funds are payable to them.

In the past, individuals used trusts as a tax-planning measure (i.e., to avoid exceeding the estate-tax exemption). With the exemptions being as high as they are, trusts are now often used to address family situations, like children with special needs, heirs with substance-abuse issues, and providing for young children.

Even though trusts are a complex aspect of estate planning, we’re here to answer your questions and help you establish a trust for the best interests of you and your family. And with our knowledge of the ever-changing laws surrounding estate taxes, we’ll help you determine whether and how a trust might help you protect your assets.

From initial estate planning discussions to the signing of your trust, our lawyers have all the tools and experience you need to navigate the tricky business of establishing a trust. So trust us—we’ve got it covered. Give us a call to find out how we can help you prepare for the future!

Wills

When it comes to estate planning, a will comes to mind first for most people. A will is a written document that specifies how an individual wants their property to be distributed when they die and names a personal representative to carry out those instructions. If a will is valid according to the state where it is signed, it will be recognized as valid in the state where it is probated (link to probate services page).

Your will is a critical piece of the estate-planning process. It ensures the correct transfer of probate assets, especially if you want to do that differently than the default law. This might look like making specific gifts to individuals or charities, nominating a guardian for minor children, or transferring property into trusts that weren’t placed in one during your life.

Even though it might be tempting to use a free or inexpensive online form for your will, there is truly no adequate substitute for an experienced legal professional. Having an expert at your side will ensure your will is error-free and actually places assets where you want them. We can help you monitor the way your assets are owned, create joint ownerships, designate beneficiaries, and use a trust in sensible ways so that when the time for probate and the like does come, your loved ones will be ready. Take it from the lawyers who’ve been drafting wills for decades: give us a call for all of your will-writing needs.