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

Pre-Planning in Estate Planning Can Protect Your Heirs from Probate Issues

DuPage County wills and trusts attorneysMost estate planners assume that having a will or living trust can keep their heirs from having to go through probate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are numerous variables, potential oversights, and often confusing elements in the estate planning process. Any one of them can result in a need for probate. Learn more about how to reduce this risk with help from the following information.

Comparing Wills and Trusts

There are two basic methods used in estate planning: wills and trusts. Wills are an effective way to address guardianship issues, but they often increase the risk of probate because they can be challenged by family members. Living trusts are less likely to result in probate. Still, it is important to realize that a living trust does not eliminate the need for a will; almost no one disburses their entire estate through a living trust. Further, there may be elements in your estate plan that cannot be covered by a living trust.

Updating Your Beneficiaries

Couples marry, divorce, and then remarry. They have a child, and then maybe a few more. Family members pass away. In short, life changes. When it does, estate plans need updating. Beneficiaries need to be renamed or modified. Guardians may need to be altered or modified. Failure to do any of this can ultimately increase the risk of probate and may even lead to a loss of assets for a member of your family.

Using Payable and Transfer on Death

Payable-on-death and transfer-on-death accounts are one of the more effective strategies for reducing the overall risk of probate for your estate. They can be used to immediately transfer bank accounts, certificates of deposits, stocks, bonds, brokerage accounts, and other assets upon death. There are some limitations to these strategies, such as not being able to list an alternate beneficiary, so it is important to discuss your situation with an attorney to determine if this option may be appropriate for you.

Contact Our DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyers

If you are ready to start your estate plan, contact Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath, LLC. Our DuPage County estate planning lawyers are dedicated to your best interest and your family's future. We will examine your situation, explain your options, and assist you with a creative estate plan that can address your needs and desires. To get started, schedule your personalized consultation. Call us at 630-665-2500 today.

Source:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-201502032000–tms–savingsgctnzy-a20150203-20150203-story.html

Probate and Ways to Avoid Probate

When people die with wills there are still accounts to settle.  Probate is a court process which distributes and manages your estate according to your terms.  It sounds like it should be an easy transition but in reality probate can take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years.

There are also costs associated with probate proceedings.  The list of costs comprises; appraisal fees, bond premiums, attorney and accountant fees, executor's fees, publication costs for legal notices, and court costs.  In Illinois, there are numerous options available to make this transition easier for your loved ones by avoiding probate altogether.

Living trusts offer a way to avoid probate for nearly every asset.  It requires a trust document which is similar to a will.  This document names a trustee who will be responsible for transferring your estate to your beneficiaries and avoid probate.

Joint ownership is another way to transfer property if it is owned by you and someone else.  This type of ownership includes a "right of survivorship" which transfers the property when one owner dies.  This is also accomplished with joint bank accounts.

Various accounts such as bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance have the ability to be payable on death.  POD accounts usually require one form to be filled out by the account holder.  This effectively avoids because the beneficiary only needs to prove the death and their identity to collect the assets.

For more ways to limit or avoid the costly probate process, it is essential to consult a professional who can identify your specific needs.  Contact an experienced estate planning attorney in DuPage County to review your current estate plan.