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Wills & Estates FAQs

Wills & Estates

David Van Gilder has been practicing law since 1983. He is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and Washington College of Law, The American University.

Andrew Simmons has been practicing law since 2007. He is a graduate of Manchester College and Washington University School of Law.

If you have a question about creating or probating a will or planning or executing an estate, please call our offices and ask for Dave or his assistant, Joni; or Mike or Andrew or their assistant, Jessica.

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Wills & Estates FAQs

Question:

Do I need a will?

Answer:

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.

Question:

What happens if I die without a will?

Answer:

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.

Question:

What is a personal representative?

Answer:

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.

Question:

What is a “living will”?

Answer:

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.

Question:

How often do I need to update my will?

Answer:

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.

Accessing the information on this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.

The materials and information on this web site are made available by Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C. for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The transmission and receipt of information on the web site do not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. This includes, but is not limited to, using the link on this web site to solicit information from Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C. Persons accessing the information on this web site should not act upon the information provided without seeking profession legal counsel.

  • Van Gilder & Trzynka, P.C.
    436 East Wayne Street
    Fort Wayne, IN 46802
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  • New Haven office
    435 Ann Street
    New Haven, IN 46774
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  • Phone: 260-424-8132
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