Wills & Trusts
The experienced Estate Planning lawyers at Bruning & Associates, P.C. are focused on developing your estate plan to achieve your goals, and to protect your family. The creation of a Will or a Trust is essential for the protection of the future financial well-being of your family and loved ones.
Please contact our firm to schedule a free consultation with an Illinois wills and trusts lawyer who can provide custom-tailored advice based upon your unique circumstances. You can also check out some basic information about these important estate planning tools.
Overview of Will and Trust Options in Illinois: Before considering how to incorporate these components into your estate plan, you should understand their features and benefits.
Last Will and Testament: The cornerstone of your estate plan is your will, in which you name an executor who will carry out your instructions. You will also include specifics on how your estate assets are to be distributed to beneficiaries.
Trusts in Estate Planning: A trust is a legal ownership structure that involves three parties:
1. The grantor that transfers assets into the trust.
2. A trustee who manages assets according to the trust document.
3. Beneficiaries who receive distributions of trust principal and income.
One of the most common forms is a revocable, living trust, where you are both grantor and trustee. This arrangement avoids probate for assets held in the trust since it is a legal entity separate from the individual who created it. A living trust is often accompanied by a special kind of will that “pours over” all assets you own individually to the trust at death.
Bruning & Associates P.C. can also advise you on other trust options including:
- Testamentary trusts that you create in your will, and which are commonly used to maintain some control over distributions.
- Special needs trusts, when you want to provide for a loved one with a disability without putting eligibility for public benefits at risk.
- Irrevocable trusts that offer asset protection benefits and tax advantages.
- Many more.
Other Parts of an Illinois Estate Plan: To round out your estate plan, it is important to consider options that take effect during your lifetime. You can prepare powers of attorney to step in if you become incapacitated due to injury or illness. A power of attorney for health care names an agent to handle medical decision-making on your behalf, while a power of attorney for property appoints someone to manage your assets.
How Wills and Trusts Protect Your Legacy: You might better appreciate the advantages these estate planning options deliver when you know what happens if you do NOT take action.
- Without a will, Illinois intestacy laws step in to handle your final affairs at death. You have no control over who will be appointed as your personal representative, potentially leading to a situation where someone you do not trust is managing your assets. These same laws also dictate how your estate assets are distributed to heirs, which means you do have no say in who gets what.
- A trust is not appropriate for all situations, but there are many benefits for creating one. Avoiding probate is an important objective and one you can achieve through a living trust and pour-over will. Trusts also offer the advantage of privacy because they do not become public record.
Living trusts can be a useful tool in planning for incapacity when properly structured. When you have a co-trustee or successor trustee, this person can seamlessly take over if you are unable to make decisions and manage trust assets. In this sense, a living trust could take the place of a power of attorney for property, but not a power of attorney for health care. Because of the limitations, it is wise to include these powers when discussing estate planning.
Helping You Navigate the Process: Whether you need to prepare a Will or a Trust, our skilled Estate Planning lawyers make sure that the Estate Planning process proceeds professionally, with ease to you and your family, and in a manner designed to protect your family and your assets from the expense and difficulty of the Probate process. We can answer your questions about Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney for Property and Health Care, and Probate proceedings filed with the Court.
In addition, our wills and trusts lawyers at Bruning & Associates, P.C. are prepared to:
- Consult with you about your goals and family situation.
- Advise you on options.
- Draft all documentation related to wills and/or trusts.
- Review every detail and explain how each provision operates, making adjustments as necessary.
- Make arrangements for signing and notarization of wills and trusts, which are subject to strict legal requirements.
- Follow up after your estate plan is in place, as life changes and legal developments may impact your arrangement.
Set up a Free Consultation with an Illinois Wills and Trusts Attorney
While a summary of these estate planning options is useful, it also makes clear that working with knowledgeable legal counsel is critical for preparing wills and trusts. Our estate planning lawyers at Bruning & Associates, P.C. are prepared to advise you, and we will create an arrangement that suits your needs and goals. Our law firm has offices conveniently located near you in Chicago, Schaumburg, and Crystal Lake, Illinois. Please contact Bruning & Associates, P.C. for a free Estate Planning Consultation.
Serving Estate Planning clients with respect to Wills and Trusts in Northern Illinois, including Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, McHenry County, Lake County, Will County, Boone County, DeKalb County, Kendall County, LaSalle County, and Winnebago County.