Crystal Lake Estate Planning
Other individuals believe that estate planning is only for wealthy or married couples. Plus, you may not understand how the relevant laws offer benefits in the event of incapacity. However, with a well-developed Illinois estate plan, you can achieve important goals and ease the hassles on your family during your lifetime and after your passing.
At Bruning & Associates P.C., our team is committed to guiding you through the estate planning conversation and making the process less overwhelming. We understand that the topic can be uncomfortable, which is why we focus on the benefits for you and your loved ones. Please contact our firm to schedule a no-cost consultation with a Crystal Lake estate planning attorney who will help you work through objectives and explain options. It is also helpful to review some background information.
Protect Your Legacy with Customized Estate Plan
Before getting to Illinois estate planning tools, you should understand and assess some of the goals you can achieve. For instance, estate planning enables you to:
- Appoint someone to work with your health care providers and make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.
- Name an agent to manage your real estate and personal property in the event of incapacity.
- Appoint a person that you trust to handle your final affairs at death.
- Provide instructions on how you want your assets to be distributed upon your passing and designate beneficiaries who will receive them.
- Indicate your wishes on who should act as the guardian of minor children.
- Minimize or avoid the probate process, which can be costly and time-consuming.
- Protect your personal, private matters from becoming public records through probate proceedings.
- Implement controls over distributions to beneficiaries who are minors or young people who lack financial sophistication.
- Distribute funds or assets to a loved one with special needs without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for public benefits.
- Reducing the impact of Illinois estate taxes, which may apply to estate valued at $4 million or more under current laws.
Evaluating your objectives sets the framework for determining the appropriate structure for your circumstances and family situation. You can trust our Crystal Lake estate planning lawyers to walk you through the assessment.
Illinois Estate Planning Options
Last Will and Testament
Through this document, you name an executor to carry out the instructions you provide regarding the management of your estate and distributions to designated beneficiaries.
Power of Attorney for Health Care
If you suffer from a condition that renders you unable to make medical decisions, the agent that you appoint through this document can step into your shoes to do so.
Power of Attorney for Property
This estate planning tool allows you to name an agent who will manage your assets if you are incapacitated and cannot handle real estate and personal property.
Many people have firm positions on whether they want to receive or decline life-sustaining medical care for a terminal condition or at end-of-life stages. You can make your intentions known and provide specifics through a living will.
There are multiple types of trusts to consider in Illinois estate planning, including those you create during your lifetime and testamentary trusts that you can include in your will. You also have options for establishing a revocable or irrevocable trust, the latter of which may be important for asset protection and tax planning.
In addition to these estate planning tools, it is also important to consider other alternatives for private avoidance. Designating pay-on-death beneficiaries for accounts and titling real estate as joint tenants with right of survivorship are examples that Bruning & Associates P.C. can explain in more detail.
Unfortunate Consequences Without Estate Planning
An effective way to showcase the benefits of planning for death and incapacity is showing what happens when you do not create an estate plan.
- When you are unable to manage your assets or make decisions regarding medical care because of incapacity, your loved ones must go to court to get permission to act on your behalf. Guardianship cases are costly and time-consuming, and the proceedings are avoidable with powers of attorney for health care and property.
- If you do not coordinate estate planning options, your estate must go through the probate process. Your personal affairs become a public record, and there are filing fees and legal costs involved with the proceedings.
- Without a will, Illinois laws on intestate succession take control of your estate. You have no say in who acts as personal representative, and you will have no power over how your assets are distributed.
- You cannot maintain confidentiality, take advantage of estate tax protections, and manage distributions to beneficiaries unless you create a trust. You are also unable to provide for a person with special needs since distributions outside a trust could disqualify him or her for Social Security disability and other public benefits.
Our Crystal Lake Estate Planning Lawyers Will Protect Your Legacy
For additional details, please contact Bruning & Associates, P.C. to set up a free consultation with a knowledgeable Crystal Lake estate planning lawyer. We serve clients across all northern Illinois counties from our conveniently located offices in Crystal Lake, Chicago, and Schaumburg.