Understanding the Risks of DIY Estate Planning

Illinois estate planning lawyerIn a world where people are increasingly reliant upon the internet for their personal, financial, and business needs, do-it-yourself estate planning may seem like the fastest, easiest, and least expensive option for drafting a will or trust. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Do-it-yourself estate planning options can rarely accommodate the unique needs of individuals, and they can leave the surviving family susceptible to all sorts of complications. Learn more about the risks that one may assume under a DIY estate plan, and discover how the assistance of a seasoned estate planning lawyer can reduce the risk of probate issues for your loved ones.

Overlooking Potential Issues

In a DIY estate plan, individuals usually rely on the prompts of a computer. If they respond incorrectly, do not understand the verbiage of a specific question, or if the computer fails to ask the appropriate questions, there could be potential issues in the future. As an example, consider the estate plan in which one names only primary beneficiaries. If something happens to the named parties and a successor or contingent was not named, the estate could go to probate.

Complex Estate Planning Issues 

Families are far more diverse these days. In fact, many individuals are on their second or third marriages, and there are often children involved. How does one ensure that everyone receives their "fair share," or how can you prevent a spouse from taking assets that are intended to go to children? To answer this question simply: such issues are best discussed with a lawyer, rather than a computer, especially if there is a substantial amount of money at stake.

Guardianship Naming is a Complex Issue

Parents often assume that a DIY will is sufficient for naming a guardian. Sadly, this is not always  the case. There are scenarios in which parents may need a more complex document to ensure the safety and well-being of their child. For example, consider a scenario in which the primary guardian dies shortly after the child's natural parents. If a successive guardian has not been named, the child could experience the very same fate that his or her parents were trying to avoid.

Probate is More Common with DIY Estate Plans

Estate plans that are drafted with the assistance of an attorney are far from iron-clad, but they are still far less susceptible to probate than a DIY estate plan. Part of this can be attributed to the more comprehensive nature of lawyer-assisted estate plans, but another reason that such estate plans are more effective at preventing probate is that people are also less likely to challenge an estate that was drafted in the presence of an attorney.

Contact Our DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyers

If you need assistance with an estate plan, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County estate planning lawyers can help you create a personalized legal document that reduces the risk of probate for your heirs. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule your personalized consultation today.

Source:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/diy-estate-planning-has-its-risks-1502071680

What is a Titanic Clause and Do You Need One in Your Estate Plan?

Illinois wills and trusts lawyersEstate planning can be a complex and frustrating process – and not just because you must follow the letter of the law when creating your documents. Instead, there are numerous challenges and obstacles to consider and anticipate. For example, you could create a comprehensive will that clearly outlines your wishes, only to have it contested in court, which could send the estate to probate and ultimately decrease its overall value. Learn how a Titanic clause can reduce the risk of this happening to your heirs, and discover how an experienced wills and trusts lawyer can help you add one to your current (or future) estate plan.

What is a Titanic Clause?

Titanic clauses are designed to deal with "worst-case scenarios" in estate planning, such as all your heirs dying before your estate can be distributed. They can also address when the state should direct funds to another agency or organization (i.e. your favorite non-profit), rather than attempt to find additional heirs for your estate. Not only can this reduce your risk of probate, it can also reduce the chances that your assets will go to an unintended party, or a family member that you do not know and have never heard of or met. Most individuals are encouraged to have a Titanic clause in their estate plan – even if the value of their estate is small – but it can be especially crucial for those with a high-value estate.

Other Important Estate Planning Elements to Consider

Being predeceased by your heirs is not the only risk to your estate. If you and your spouse die simultaneously, or if you die around the same time but it is difficult to determine which of you passed away first, it can complicate or even completely alter how your estate is distributed. A simultaneous death clause can direct the state on how to treat such matters.

Survivorship deferral clauses can be used to direct your estate if an heir dies within a certain time-period after they have received their disbursement. This, too, can reduce the risk that your assets go to an unintended party. Talk to your attorney about other clauses or addendums that may benefit you and your heirs in your estate plan by scheduling a personalized consultation.

Contact Our Wheaton Wills and Trusts Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we protect the financial futures of our clients and their heirs by providing comprehensive and personalized services. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County wills and trusts lawyers are here to serve you. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 and schedule your personalized consultation today.

Source:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/09/why-your-estate-needs-a-titanic-clause.html

Wills and Living Trusts – Do You Need Both?

DuPage County estate planning lawyersEstate planning is a complex and highly personalized process (at least it should be), and that means that no two estate plans are exactly the same. However, there are similarities and generalized information that one can use to determine which estate planning option may be most appropriate for their situation.

Consider, for example, the comparison of a will and living trust. Each strategy works the same, regardless of your situation, but your situation may warrant that you use one document or the other. Also, there may be certain scenarios in which both strategies are needed. Learn more about when this may occur, and discover how our seasoned estate planning lawyers can assist you in developing an estate plan that suits your needs.

Comparing Wills and Living Trusts

Although wills and living trusts both allow you to name beneficiaries and designate where assets will go upon your death, they do so in very different ways. Wills communicate your wishes upon your death, and they do not typically require you to do anything extra; you simply need to create it, register it, and ensure that loved ones know where to find a copy.

Living trusts can also designate assets and identify trustees, but you have more control over when and how the assets are assigned. For example, you can transfer your home to a beneficiary before your death, rather than after your death, to help them avoid probate after your death. Using a living trust over a will could also result in a more expedient transfer of property to the beneficiary. In short, living trusts can reduce the legal costs and delays that are often associated with probate over a contested will.

When Both May Be Needed

While most parties need only a will or living trust, there are certain situations that may warrant both. If, for example, you have assets that do not have value (i.e. items of sentiment, pets, etc.) that you want to go to a specific beneficiary, a will can help you do that. However, if you also have substantial assets that could go to probate, you may still need a living will to protect your beneficiary from the resulting delays and legal costs that might occur if someone does contest the validity of your will. An attorney can help you better understand what other situations might warrant both a living trust and a will.

Contact Our DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyers

Backed by more than 40 years of experience, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC can skillfully assist you in developing an estate plan that suits your family's needs. Dedicated to ensuring your wishes are carried out, even after your death, our DuPage County estate planning lawyers can examine your situation, explain your options, and execute whatever strategy appeals to you. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule your personalized consultation today.

Source:

http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2018/01/liz_weston_living_trusts_can_h.html