lady justice with law books with globeEstate Planning

At some point in our lives we all experience a taste of mortality. Whether it is a birth, death, divorce, marriage, or any other significant life event, knowing that your affairs are in order can be a big strain off of your day to day life. That is why it is important to start your estate planning sooner, rather than latter. This allows you to be an active participant in the process to ensure that your affairs are well in order and set up to a way that is agreeable to all parties involved in the process as you deem fit. So, take a moment out of your day and see just how easy, and how beneficial, setting up your Last Will and Testament or a Trust, a Power of Attorney, and/or a Living Will can be. Give the estate planning experts at Cogswell and Associates a phone call for all of your needs near Indianapolis today.

Nominating a Guardian For Your Children

In life, the only thing that is constant is change. That also means that it is unpredictable as well and can change in an instant. So, considering that, are your children in good hands if something were to happen to you or your spouse? Many of us would like to think that nothing will, but it is priceless to know that your loved ones will be taken care of in the event of an untimely death. Yes, it can be hard to choose someone to take on such a significant role and should take some thought and consideration before a final answer is chosen, but now is the time and Cogswell and Associates is the place. We can help you set up a guardianship to ensure that your wishes are carried out and your family is taken care of without legal issues in an already stressful and emotional time.

Mitigate Family Disharmony

One of the biggest challenges a family can face in the event of a loved one’s death is the disharmony that can come with the distribution of your assets. Setting up your last will and testament will help mitigate much of this strife by ensuring that your family knows your wishes before such a time occurs. If a certain family member has a particular item or set of items that is important to them, know is a great time to get it legally documented. If there is something in your possession that you would like to see go to a particular family member, know is a great time for that as well. Whether it is a wedding ring, a set of fine china, property such as a home, vehicles, or anything else, don’t depend on someone’s word, but it in writing with an attorney at Cogswell and Associates. The issue becomes even more compounded if a family business is also in place by ensuring that the individuals that you want to succeed you are able to do so. If Ensuring that you have this plan in place will assist in a smooth transition and as minimal of impact and stress will occur.

Deal with Incapacity Issues, Serious Illness, and Accidents:

When it comes to incapacity issues, serious illness, and accidents, having a power of attorney in place will help by making sure that the right person is making the important decisions when you are not able to. This saves additional expense that comes with seeking that authority for a family member in court should a power of attorney or health care proxy not be in place at the time of your incapacity. Also, in the event of a life change such as a marriage or divorce, it is important to revisit these documents to ensure that it is up to date in the event that is needed.
Two examples that we would like to share with you that could have been readily avoided with proper planning: First, a man called to get guardianship over his mother who has Alzheimer’s. This man’s father had been taking care of her for years but had a heart attack and sadly passed away. The father’s will, having been drawn up 20-30 years ago, left everything to his wife, but due to the alzheimer’s, she was not in any state to handle the affairs of the estate; let alone her own. This instance created the need for an emergency guardianship to be filed, multiple hearings to take place, and a lot of work for all parties involved. What could have been done prior for a few hundred dollars turned into a few thousand to remedy.

The second instance involved a 19 year old who was at IU, and had a car accident that left him incapacitated in the hospital by medical inducement into a coma. Due to HIPAA laws, and the child now being an adult, his parents were not allowed to make any medical decisions for him or even know about his prognosis. This was because no medical power of attorney existed at the time of his accident. No one expects their 19 year old son to be injured in a car accident but the risk exists and should not be overlooked.

Probate Avoidance

When it comes to the probate period after the death of a loved one, the process can be lengthy and potentially stressful to all involved. Having an estate plan in place can mean the difference between a lengthy process, and potentially avoiding the whole thing completely. If you, or your family, should find yourself in probate there are a series of steps that will have to occur before the authentication of your loved one’s last will and testament can take place. The typical steps that have to happen are listed below:
Authenticating the last will and testament
Appointing a personal representative
Locating the decedent’s assets
Determining the date of death values
Identifying known creditors
Paying bills
Preparing and filing income tax returns
And finally distributing the balance of the estate to the beneficiaries
As you can see, a lengthy process that would be better avoided if at all possible.

Trust and Estate Plans

In the unfortunate event of your passing, the ability to determine who your hard earned money and assets go to is now out of your hands. Ensuring that you have proper, legal, and professionally drawn up documentation of your wishes in the form of a last will and testament, estate plan, and any and all trust funds are essential to the proper distribution of your worldly goods. If you have minor children that would benefit from the existence of a trust fund, rather than a lump sum, we can help you. If you are seeking to avoid the balance of your possessions going to an individual that you are no longer married to, we can help there as well. No matter what your wishes may be, the professionals at Cogswell and Associates can ensure that they are carried out in accordance with your wishes.


If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation please fill out our form below.