Married or Not You Need a Will


  • If you have children:
    1. To name responsible guardians to raise your children if you die
    2. To create a trust for your children and name a Trustee to manage your children’s funds until they are responsible enough to handle the money on their own
    3. To avoid the costs and burden of a court-supervised guardianship over the assets your children inherit
  • To avoid the unintended consequences of intestate succession (to decide who gets your stuff when you die, rather than the State deciding for you)
    1. If you have children together, surviving spouse gets half of net estate
    2. If deceased spouse has children from a previous marriage (or that have not been adopted by surviving spouse), surviving spouse gets only 25% of equity in real estate and half of personal property
    3. If couple has no children (or issue), but parent(s) of deceased spouse are alive, surviving spouse gets 75% of net estate
  • To receive advice of attorney as to how to title property and name beneficiaries on assets in order to avoid probateBTransfer on Death, Payable on Death, naming contingents
  • To have power of attorney for financial matters: no automatic right of spouses to have access to or control over other spouse=s accounts and assets that are not jointly titled (all retirement accounts are individual); to avoid guardianship; to name a back-up trusted person if in a common accident
  • To have name a health care representative: spouses DO have right to make decisions in absence of a power of attorney (POA), but especially if there are any family issues, a POA establishes priority of spouse; otherwise equal to parent, sibling or adult child; can disqualify family or others from right to make decisions
  • To have a Living Will with instructions about life-prolonging procedures in the event of terminal illness or permanent coma

The Law Office of Barbara J. Baird represents clients living in Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Noblesville, Danville, Greenfield, Bloomington, Lafayette, Fort Wayne, and South Bend, Indiana. Marion County · Hamilton County · Boone County · Johnson County · Hendricks County · Hancock County