Preparing for Tomorrow, Peace of Mind for Today
Having a plan brings peace of mind. You will feel reassured knowing that you have taken the steps to protect yourself and your loved ones. Prepare for expected and unexpected events that may happen tomorrow. We cannot predict the future, but with a customized Estate Plan, you can prepare for it with confidence.
What Is an Estate Plan?
Your estate plan includes a collection of documents that are created to ensure your wishes are known and legally enforceable in the event that you are no longer able to make the decisions for yourself due to disability or death.
An estate plan includes three main documents:
- A Will
- A Health Care Power of Attorney
- A Property Power of Attorney
An Estate Plan often includes one or more Trusts, including a Revocable Trust, also known as a Revocable Living Trust, or Inter Vivos Trust. Other types of trusts and documents may be included based upon your specific needs.
Who Needs an Estate Plan?
Although most people would never dream of leaving their young children home alone, or permitting the weeds to take over the yard, many people put off the vital task of estate planning. No matter what the value of your assets, your family circumstances, or the state of your relationships, you need an estate plan. At the very least, every adult should have a health care power of attorney, durable power of attorney for property and a will. Many people should also include a revocable trust in their basic estate plan.
The following are just a few of the reasons why this is so. If you die without a will in Illinois, the rules of “descent and distribution” dictate what happens to assets titled only in your name. For example, if you are married and have children, one-half will go to your spouse and the other half to your children. If you are married and have no children, then all assets go to your spouse. If your spouse is deceased, then the assets would go to your children or their descendants. If you die without a will and have minor children, your spouse may be required to report annually to the Probate Court how, why and where he or she spent the money necessary for care of the children. At 18, the children would have full rights to withdraw and spend their shares.
Suppose both parents die without nominating a guardian. Friends and relatives may agree upon who should act as guardian. Should they fail to agree, the Probate Court will select a guardian. The guardian may be a stranger to the child who is acceptable to the Court.
Perhaps you do not have a spouse or children. Without a will, your assets would be distributed to your nearest living relatives. If you have no living relatives, then all will go to the State of Illinois.
Wills (and trusts) give you the opportunity to decide who receives your assets and who will take care of your children. Without a will, you can’t leave your assets to charity or to a non-relative. Powers of attorney for property and for health care permit you to decide who will make vital decisions for you in the event you are disabled or unable to act yourself. It’s up to you to take the time to make your own decisions.
Why Should You Hire an Estate Planning Attorney?
You need an attorney who understands the laws of Illinois and devotes much of her time to estate planning. We don’t know your area of specialty or strength, but we know ours; and our business is knowing the best way to design an estate plan for you and for your family. A well-drafted, effective estate plan will provide peace of mind and the knowledge that you have taken the appropriate steps to keep your family out of the courtroom as much as possible. One of the most common misconceptions people have is that if they have a will, there is no need for probate. This is not true; in most situations, only a properly drafted, executed, and funded trust can avoid the need for probate.
Deemer Law Firm strives to exceed your expectations. We are a compassionate, caring firm with over 22 years of experience. Our goal is to understand your goals and create documents that will accomplish them.