Will FAQs

Do I need a will?
A will is a written document expressing an individual’s desire for controlling the transfer of their property after death.  A will is recommended for several reasons.  Besides providing for distribution of your property, a will allows for the following:

  • Choice of a personal representative to administer your estate.
  • Choice of a guardian for a minor in case of the death or disability of both parents.
  • Trust provisions to manage and provide income for survivors, typically minors.
  • Charitable provisions.

What happens if I die without a will?
If an individual dies without executing a will, the Indiana Intestacy statute is controlling.  This statute provides surviving spouses, children, parents, and other family members with specific shares of your estate.  Consult with a lawyer for further explanation.

What is a personal representative?
A personal representative makes sure the wishes expressed in a will are properly carried out.  Due to the nature of the duties listed below, the assistance of an attorney for a personal representative is generally required.  The duties of a personal representative include the following:

  • Have the will probated with the court.
  • Marshal (gather together) the assets of the estate.
  • Establish the value of all assets as of the date of death and file an inventory with the court.
  • Handle claims against the estate.
  • File income tax returns for periods before and after death.
  • Prepare a final accounting covering the principal, income, and disbursements of the estate.
  • Distribute assets of the estate, including specific bequests.

What is a “living will”?
A living will, also known as advance directives, is a written document providing instructions for an individual’s care in the event of a terminal illness or “persistent vegetative state”.  It allows adults (ages 18 and over) to execute written instructions regarding whether to withhold or maintain life-prolonging procedures such as artificial nutrition or hydration.  A copy of the living will is provided to the individual’s primary physician and with a health care representative or family member who was given authority to make health care decisions.

How often do I need to update my will?
Once properly executed, a will does not expire.  However, it is recommended that wills be updated after life-changing events such as marriage, divorce, having a child, or adoption.



  • Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C.
    436 East Wayne Street
    Fort Wayne, IN 46802
    Map and Directions
  • New Haven office
    435 Ann Street
    New Haven, IN 46774
    Map and Directions
  • Phone: 260-424-8132
    Toll Free: 888-255-7910
    Fax: 260-969-5361