Estates & Trusts

Law Firm of Donahoe Irvin, PC

We are expert in estate and trust planning and the ultimate administration that must occur after death.  Mr. Donahoe is a Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist in the State of Indiana, and was among the inaugural group of Indiana attorneys to obtain this certification.

Estate and Trust Planning and Administration

Our firm practices at the highest level of sophistication in the estate-planning field.  We have extensive experience administering large estates with complicated wealth transfer and tax issues.

The estate tax laws have been in a nearly constant state of flux for over ten years, and unfortunately, it does not appear likely that we will see much certainty in the law for many years to come.  The good news is that far fewer people are affected by the federal estate tax, and it is much less of a planning concern than in years past.

This is not to say that planning is unnecessary. Anyone who worries, in the event of injury or untimely death, about protecting their children, their parents, other loved ones or their own welfare, will benefit from consultation with a seasoned estate-planning lawyer.  All sorts of family circumstances, including second marriages, family members with special needs and wealth disparities among children, frequently raise the need to carefully consider how assets will pass at death. These “non-tax” concerns many times drive estate planning much more than consideration of tax consequences.

Finally, one standing in the capacity as an attorney-in-fact (under a “power of attorney” document), or as a guardian, may find the need to engage in estate planning on behalf of the loved one for whom they are caring. This frequently occurring situation is fraught with issues involving the “fiduciary” duties of the attorney-in-fact or guardian and should not be taken lightly.  We have considerable experience, and are particularly qualified to counsel the client, in these circumstances.

Estate and Trust Litigation

Nearly all estate and trust administrations run smoothly. Generally, family members get along and simply want the process over with quickly. We understand that hope and expectation, and we seek to efficiently navigate your family through the various processes and tasks that must be completed at this difficult time.

On rare occasions, family members do not get along so well. A now retired lawyer, who was a mentor for us, aptly observed that “death changes relationships.”  The recently deceased family member was often the glue holding a difficult family situation together. With that person gone, long-held resentments, differences of opinion, and disputes may erupt between the heirs.

Expectations and emotions can run high. We utilize a practical approach to resolving these disputes so as to preserve the deceased’s property for distribution to the family.  We assess very early on how much the family is really fighting over, in hopes of avoiding an unnecessary dissipation of the estate with legal fees.  Our attorneys have experience with the following types of estate and trust matters:

  • Will contests
  • Estate administration including removal of personal representative/executor
  • Trust interpretation, reformation, deviation and trust termination matters, including required trustee accountings and removal and replacement of trustees
  • Filing and defense of claims for services provided to the deceased
  • Power of attorney and fiduciary duty disputes
  • Power of attorney accounting matters
  • Trust mergers
  • Counsel to non-Indiana residents with Indiana estate or trust issues
  • Premarital and Postmarital Agreements
  • Guardianships for both adults and minors