Estate Planning Basics: Choosing a Suitable Guardian for Your Children

Wheaton wills and trusts lawyersOf all the things that a parent must do, creating an estate plan that names a guardian for their children is, by far, one of the most difficult. That is because it not only requires the parent to consider the possibility of their death, it also requires the them to determine who may be willing, able, and best-suited to raise their child in their absence. Learn more about choosing a guardian to raise your children if a tragedy occurs, and discover how a seasoned estate planning lawyer can assist you with the process. 

Why Choosing a Guardian is Important 

Although most people know that life is unpredictable, they often want to avoid considering their own mortality – and that includes drafting estate planning documents like wills and guardianship papers. Other people simply get lost in their day-to-day lives and simply put off estate planning until “tomorrow.” Regardless of the reason for their delay, parents are highly encouraged to consider the potentially devastating consequences for their children. 

If a tragedy occurs and no will is in place, minor children and disabled adult children may be sent into the foster care system until a guardianship can be named. What is more, the courts typically allow any family member to bid for guardianship of the surviving children of a deceased parent – and that can include people who do not align with your values, religion, or parenting style. From there, the courts will make a determination, and they may use factors that seem irrelevant to you (i.e. annual income, age and overall health of the potential guardian, etc.). In short, parents who do not have a will are leaving the future of their children up to chance. 

Choosing a Guardian – Starting the Process

Only you can truly determine who may be best capable of loving and raising your children in the way that you envision. Perhaps you already have someone in mind, but you may also be struggling with the decision because there are multiple parties that would be suitable. If you are in the latter group, some of the following considerations may help you in making your decision:

  • Who might parent most like you?
  • How important is it that the guardian practice the same religion as you?
  • Are there potential guardians that share your values?
  • Is the potential guardian financially stable enough to care for your child?
  • Is the guardian capable of giving your child the love and attention they deserve?
  • Is the potential guardian mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy enough to care for your children?
  • Is there anything about the guardian that might negatively impact your child?

Keep in mind that you can choose alternate guardians, in the event that the guardian you choose is unable to care for your children upon your death. You can even create a succession plan if the first-chosen guardian passes away after taking guardianship of your children. 

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we understand that guardianship is a serious matter, as the possibility of your untimely death, and we can help you prepare for it all. Seasoned and committed to protecting the interest of your heirs and surviving family, we can help you consider all the potential scenarios and possibilities in your Illinois estate plan. Start by scheduling a personalized consultation with our Wheaton estate planning lawyers. Call 630-665-2500 today. 

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizfrazierpeck/2017/11/28/how-to-choose-the-right-guardian-for-your-child/#12171b753d61

 

Examining the Most Common Estate Planning Myths

Wheaton will and trust lawyersPeople may put off estate planning for a variety of reasons. Most are born out of estate planning myths – assumptions that simply are not true. Learn why estate planning is an important task for everyone, regardless of their situation, and discover how a seasoned estate planning lawyer can assist you with the process in the following sections. 

“Only the Rich Need an Estate Plan”

Perhaps one of the biggest estate planning misconceptions is that the process is only for the extremely wealthy. While, yes, a comprehensive estate plan is important for reducing the tax load of the wealthy, even those with moderate to small estates can benefit from the process. Often, people do not know their true value. They may have assets that they have forgotten about, or their savings and retirement accounts may have accrued more interest than expected. If the individual has children, this alone facilitates the creation of a will, as it is important that families ensure their children end up with the guardian or guardians they feel to be the most suitable. 

“Estate Plans Are Not Necessary Until Later in Life”

People often put off estate planning because they think it is not necessary until they start reaching retirement. Unfortunately, this can leave a family vulnerable to extreme loss and stress if a tragedy happens. A child may be left without a guardian if their parents pass away, an incapacitated individual may not have anyone to make medical or financial decisions for them, or a deceased individual’s retirement account may go to an ex-spouse instead of their children or current spouse. All these oversights, and more, can be avoided through careful estate planning. 

“I Only Need a Will to Protect My Family and Assets”

While a will can cover a great deal of your assets, it cannot handle all estate planning matters. A will does not cover joint assets, and it cannot override an account with a designated beneficiary. It is also important to note that a will does not necessarily cover you if you become incapacitated and unable to make medical or financial decisions for yourself. Instead, you would need other estate planning documents, such as a living will or power of attorney. 

Contact Our DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyers

With more than 40 years of experience, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC knows what it takes to ensure that a party’s assets and heirs are protected once they have passed. We start by carefully examining your situation, and then we explain the estate planning process and documents in a way that help you fully understand your options so that you can create a comprehensive plan that suits your needs. Schedule your personalized consultation with our DuPage County estate planning lawyers by calling 630-665-2500 today. 

Source:

https://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/baby-boomers/articles/2018-07-05/6-common-myths-about-estate-planning

 

Cryptocurrencies in Your Estate Plan – What You Need to Know

Illinois will and trusts lawyersBitcoin, Ethereum, and other types of cryptocurrencies have made many savvy investors quite wealthy – and many of them have been able to keep their wealth secret. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes such currencies appealing can also endanger the wealth of one’s heirs. Learn how and why you should add your cryptocurrencies into your estate plan, and discover how a seasoned Illinois wills and trusts lawyer can assist with the process and mitigate any financial loss. 

The Hidden Nature of Cryptocurrency Creates Issues for Heirs 

Because the money is entirely digital, cryptocurrencies can be easily lost. In fact, there are stories about investors who have had to dig through their trash after losing their password and login information. Others choose to keep their currency stored offline, on a thumb drive. However, even this presents a problem in estate planning. 

One cannot gain access to a cryptocurrency account if they do not know that it exists – and since most investors want their funds to stay private, most heirs do not have any knowledge of the account. Yet, even with knowledge of it, the heir cannot search for the account like they could a bank account or retirement account, and they would not receive notice from the Internal Revenue Service since the agency does not typically have knowledge of the account either. Thankfully, there is a way to protect your cryptocurrency wealth and your heirs from severe financial loss. 

Adding Cryptocurrencies to Your Estate Plan

While you should definitely include every financial account to your estate plan, it is absolutely critical that you take the proper steps to ensure your cryptocurrencies are accurately documented and easily retrievable. One way to do this is to download your account to a thumb drive, offline, and then store it with your estate planning documents. Another is to ensure you include all details of your account into the estate plan and ensure it is safely stored (i.e. a locking safe). Some investors choose to do both, just to be safe. Either way, be sure that your heirs know where to find your estate plan and other pertinent documents. 

Contact Our DuPage Estate Planning Lawyers

If you have not yet created your estate plan, or you need to add your cryptocurrency account to it to ensure your heirs receive all the wealth to which they are entitled, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC is the firm to trust. Our seasoned DuPage County estate planning attorneys have over 40 years of experience in the industry, and we can assist you with developing a sound set of documents that protect your wealth and your heirs. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule your personalized consultation with us today. 

Source:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/30/add-cryptocurrency-assets-to-estate-plan-to-save-your-fortune.html