Providing Clients with a Wide Range of Legal Services
At Dale, Huffman & Babcock, our experienced attorneys provide counsel in a wide variety of practice areas. Each member of our team has unique experience in a particular practice area.
Our attorneys can help you with cases involving: Asset Preservation Planning | Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration | Estate Planning | Guardianship Services | Special Needs Planning | Business and Corporate Law | Long-term Care Planning
Asset Preservation Planning
Asset preservation planning is a broad concept that encompasses many aspects of the estate planning process:
- Planning for the expenses of nursing home care
- Pre-marital agreements
- Various types of trusts to protect young or irresponsible beneficiaries
- LLCs to limit liability exposure for real estate, small businesses, or farms
- Special needs planning to protect disabled beneficiaries
Probate, Estate, and Trust Administration
The passing of a loved one is often the single most difficult event for any family. It can be very challenging dealing with a loss and not knowing where to turn or what to do next. Every member of our team has lost someone special at one time or another – we acknowledge there are good days, and some days that aren’t. We support families through this critical time and strive to help you navigate through the confusion and frustration. We handle the settlement of affairs and assist the family to ensure that the wishes of their loved one are carried out.
There are several types of estate administration—from informal, small estate non-probate administrations, to unsupervised probate estates (the most common), to trust administration, to full-blown supervised probate administration with full court involvement. We also assist with claims paperwork for life insurance and retirement accounts, as well as the preparation of any necessary deeds.
No matter the level of assistance you need after a loved one’s death, we will be able to help in all areas of estate or trust administration. We provide personalized, capable, and compassionate guidance to help you navigate this difficult time.
Our focus is on the client, and our priority is ensuring that your specific estate planning goals are met. We believe estate planning is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family. Proper and thorough planning provides peace of mind and eliminates the need for loved ones to guess what you would want during an already stressful time.
At its heart, estate planning governs the transfer of your property at your death according to your wishes. Through proper planning, you can protect the financial well-being of a spouse, provide for your children’s educational needs, provide for the needs of a minor or disabled child, and even make gifts to charity. Proper planning can also ensure that your estate and your beneficiaries pay minimal taxes, ensuring that your legacy goes to your family rather than the government.
We help our clients protect their legacies and create a roadmap for all of life’s challenges with a combination of documents including wills, revocable trusts, irrevocable trusts, powers of attorney, health care directives, transfer on death deeds (and other automatic “upon death” transfers), and pre-marital and post-marital agreements. We also assist with the titling of property and the completion of beneficiary designations as part of a comprehensive and holistic estate planning process.
As children with special needs turn 18, parents find themselves no longer legally permitted to make health care and financial decisions for their child. Similarly, adults with a disability or age-related illness, such as dementia, can also become unable to handle their day-to-day needs. In these cases, a court-appointed guardianship can give you the tools to safely care for your loved one’s needs.
When guardianship becomes necessary, our firm can help your family every step of the way. We will take you through the process from beginning to end, and provide you ongoing assistance with periodic guardianship accountings. We also can serve as guardian-ad-litem in ongoing guardianship matters.
For more information about Guardianship services, please call our office to schedule an appointment with Attorney Kristin L. Steckbeck.
Special Needs Planning
When a member of the family is diagnosed with a genetic condition, mental illness, or other form of disability, protecting that person’s dignity, quality of life, and safety becomes a top priority. Special needs planning is an important piece of the puzzle.
A special needs trust is a vital tool to ensure that a gift or inheritance can enrich a disabled individual’s life without resulting in a loss of governmental benefits.
Similarly, special needs trusts can be used to shelter proceeds from a lawsuit or settlement while simultaneously preserving governmental benefits for a disabled individual.
For more information about special needs planning, please call our office at 260-824-5566 to schedule an appointment.
Business and Corporate Law
Corporate law involves advising businesses and business owners on a wide variety of legal issues. These issues may include entity selection for the start up of a new business, assistance in business transactions, negotiating, drafting and reviewing contracts, selling a business, developing a succession plan for transferring the ownership and control of the business to the owner’s children or employees, termination of a business, and business litigation. Some types of entities available for conducting a business are corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, limited partnerships, limited liability partnerships, and sole proprietorships.
We assist our clients in determining what business entity and structure will best fit their needs, and then carefully structure and formally create the entity, including registration with the Indiana Secretary of State. We also assist our clients in operating the entity in compliance with Indiana law going forward.
Long-term Care Planning
Each one of us at Dale, Huffman & Babcock have provided care support to our own aging loved ones or have been a direct caregiver. Our entire team understands the emotional difficulties associated with decisions regarding loved ones facing the prospect of an extended stay in a nursing home, assisted living facility, or memory care unit. We also understand the complex and diverse needs for those receiving care at home. This is not an easy process, but we guide our clients, their family, and their caregivers through the mountain of paperwork every step of the way.
Today, families must also deal with the extremely high cost associated with paying for skilled care services, which can cost well over $7,500 a month. With proper long-term care planning, our clients ensure that their assets will be passed on to their children without compromising on the quality of their care.
If you or your loved ones are in need of an elder law attorney in Indiana, contact our office for more information.