No Children? Do Not Skip the Estate Planning Process

Joliet wills and trusts lawyersPeople who do not have children often assume that their assets will go directly to their spouse, so an estate plan is not needed. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Learn why it is still important that you consider the future of your estate, even when you do not have children, and discover how an experienced wills and trusts lawyer can assist you with the development of your estate plan.

What Happens to Assets When You Do Not Have an Estate Plan?

When someone dies without a valid will or trust in place, their assets typically go to their spouse. Unfortunately, there are situations that could prevent them from obtaining the assets. Examples include an ex-spouse that is still listed as a beneficiary on a retirement plan and probate challenges from extended family members who were not intended beneficiaries.

If the individual does not have a spouse, the courts may assign a trustee to the estate until beneficiaries can be found. If there are multiple beneficiaries, the matter may go to probate. In this instance, the value of the estate may be depleted once it reaches the beneficiaries. Thankfully, both issues can be prevented with a well-crafted estate plan.

How an Estate Plan Protects Your Assets After Death

Rather than allowing your estate to be handled by the courts and the trustees it assigns, you can draft a comprehensive estate plan that outlines your final wishes. Doing this not only helps to eliminate any confusion about where your assets should go, but it also reduces the risk of some of the more common after-death estate issues, and it decreases the chances that your estate will go to probate.

You can also name alternative beneficiaries in your estate plan. This reduces the risk of your assets going to unintended parties if your primary beneficiary passes away before your estate can be distributed. An example of this happening would be if your spouse died shortly after you did. If neither of you had an estate plan, the assets might then go to your spouse’s family, rather than your own.

Contact Our DuPage County Wills and Trusts Lawyers

At Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC, we work with individuals to help ensure that their wishes are carried after death. Dedicated and experienced, our DuPage County wills and trusts lawyers can assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that suits your needs. Schedule a personalized consultation to get started. Call 630-665-2500 today.

Source:

https://money.usnews.com/investing/articles/2017-02-16/estate-planning-is-important-for-people-without-children

Uncertainty and Changing Tax Laws Should Not Delay Estate Planning

Wheaton wills and trusts attorneysWhile some people may be rejoicing the recent pass-through of the House’s Tax Cut and Jobs Act, others may be experiencing uncertainty over the future. Sadly, this apprehension can cause those individuals to delay or even completely forgo estate planning. Learn why this is usually a poor decision, gain insight on how the bill might affect your heirs if it is passed into law, and discover what an experienced attorney can do to protect your family after your death.

The Danger of Estate Planning Delays

It can be tempting to put off estate planning, especially if you are young and healthy, but doing so can have dire consequences. Accidents occur, and even the healthiest of people can suffer a tragic illness. If one occurs and you pass away or are rendered incapacitated, you and your heirs may suffer. For example, there may be no one to make medical decisions for you, so you may be forced to endure the standard of care, despite not wanting resuscitation. Another possible consequence is that your family could be left without access to money for bills and daily expenses if you have not named a power of attorney. Thankfully, such issues can be mitigated against (and perhaps even avoided altogether) with a carefully thought-out estate plan.

Bill Would Not Eliminate the Need for Estate Planning

Although the passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act may lead some to believe that they no longer need an estate plan, the clear and evidenced dangers of not having one makes it abundantly clear that – at the very least – a valid will is needed. There are also other, independent concerns that individuals should be aware of, such as when and why a more comprehensive estate plan may be needed.

Consider an individual who has left behind the typical blended family: an ex-wife, wife, children, and step-children. After spending years on building and developing bonds to create a healthy and functional family, a freak accident occurs and the individual passes away. Wracked with grief and highly sentimental over a few prized possessions, the previously intact family, starts to argue over whom receives what. If severe enough, that contention can break the bonds of family, perhaps permanently.

Had the individual created a will or trust, there would have been no confusion over where the assets were meant to go. Because of this, heirs are more likely to receive their portion of the estate, and the risk of probate is dramatically reduced. Legal costs and taxes are also typically lower for heirs, and the amount of time that it takes to divide the estate is usually shorter. In short, an estate plan can protect heirs from some of the most common estate planning issues.

Contact Our Wheaton Estate Planning Lawyers

If you have been delaying the creation of an estate plan because of apprehension or misguided information over how the new bill may impact your family’s future, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC for assistance. Our seasoned Wheaton estate planning lawyers can examine your situation, advise you of your options, and assist you in developing creative solutions that can hopefully satisfy your needs. Call 630-665-2500 and schedule your personalized consultation with us to get started.

Source:

https://www.fool.com/taxes/2017/10/21/3-reasons-youll-still-need-estate-planning-even-if.aspx

Video Wills – Are They Right for Your Estate Planning Needs?

DuPage County estate planning lawyersTalking to your family through video and letting them know your wishes once you are gone sounds like an innovative idea. At the very least, it is indicative of the times, but is such a method considered valid by the courts? Learn more about the validity of video wills, including how to determine if they may be appropriate for your estate planning needs, and discover where you can find quality legal assistance with your Illinois will or living trust.

Are Video Wills Legally Binding?

Video wills are not typically considered valid by probate courts or judges. The reasons behind this are many, but one of the biggest concerns is that a judge may be unable to determine whether the person speaking was of sound mind at the time of the video’s creation. Furthermore, the judge may be unable to determine if the person was under any form of mental, physical, or emotional duress at the time that the video was made. As such, only a written and notarized will would be considered valid by the courts.

Combining the Best of Both Worlds

It can be disheartening to learn that video wills are not considered legally valid, especially if you had your heart set on making one. Thankfully, you do not have to throw out the idea completely. While a video will cannot replace a written will, it can supplement it quite well. It can give your will a more personal touch. It can comfort your family, long after you are gone. Video wills even give you the chance to deliver semi-private or intimate messages to those you love most, so do not throw away your idea. Instead, find a way to combine the best of both worlds; create both a written will and a video one for lasting, loving impact.

How Our DuPage County Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help

Estate planning is a complex process, with numerous potential consequences for your heirs. Protect them, and your estate, with help from an experienced estate planning lawyer. Able to examine your specific situation, an attorney can provide you with tailored and creative solutions to help ensure your estate planning needs and wants are met.

Backed by over 40 years of legal experience, Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC is ready to serve you. Caring and attentive, our DuPage County estate planning lawyers will walk you through your options so that you can make the most informed decisions possible. Schedule your personalized consultation to get started. Call our offices at 630-665-2500 today.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60&SeqStart=5300000&SeqEnd=6800000