Our office typically recommends that clients review their estate plans every 3 to 5 years, or whenever a significant event has occurred in their lives.
Some of the events that may warrant an estate plan review may include: the purchase of property; the birth of children; a dispute that has resulted in an altered relationship with a person included in the estate plan, etc.
Any time there has been a significant change to your circumstances or significant event in your life, it is important to review your estate plan. If no such substantial circumstances have presented themselves, it is a good practice to review your estate plan every three to five years.
This review will provide you with an important opportunity to ensure that your estate plan covers all of your concerns.
Do I Need A Cook County Estate Planning Attorney Or Can I Do This On My Own Or With An Online Estate Planning Service?
It is not legally necessary to retain the services of an attorney to draw up an estate plan.
However, the more in-depth your estate plan is, the more important it is to consult with an attorney. An Estate Planning Lawyer will be able to review your document to ensure that it is valid and legally secure.
How Do I Plan For Possible Incapacity During My Lifetime? What Estate Planning Documents Are Necessary Under Illinois Laws?
Typically, planning for incapacity can be done through the creation of Powers of Attorney. It’s important to secure both Financial Power of Attorney and Healthcare Power of Attorney.
These documents will allow you to appoint an agent who will act on your behalf and make financial and healthcare-related decisions in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself.
It’s important to create these documents before incapacitation occurs. If you are incapacitated before you are able to secure Powers of Attorney, a Guardianship may be created. Guardianships are entirely separate from Powers of Attorney and can be very costly, as well.
What Exactly Is A Special Needs Trust And Who Is This Intended For?
A Special Needs Trust is typically put in place for someone under the age of 65 that has income or assets, as well as income from the Social Security Administration.
When a person is receiving Social Security Disability income, their estate assets are limited. The Social Security Administration Board requires a person’s estate to remain under the amount of $2,000. If the estate exceeds $2,000, the Social Security Administration Board will withdraw access to those benefits until the estate goes under that amount.
If a client is in this position, our office will seek to create a Special Needs Trust. The Social Security Administration Board does not acknowledge a trust as belonging or as an asset of that individual. In this case, Social Security income can be resumed without detriment to the client.
How Can Funds Be Spent With The Special Needs Trust? How Do You Ensure That Those Funds Specifically Established For The Benefit Of A Special Needs Child Are Going To Be Used In The Proper Way?
A Special Needs Trust has very specific regulations as to how the funds within the trust may be used.
Typically, if there is a Special Needs Trust used on behalf of a minor, it is because the case is a matter of the court.
In these situations, the court requires a petition or pleading to be filed each time the trustee needs to use the money within the trust. Alternatively, there may be a budget put in place that specifies how much money can be used on behalf of the minor and how frequently.
In any Special Needs Trust, the guardian of the minor must perform an annual accounting. Every year, the guardian will take this accounting of how the trust money has been spent to the court for approval.
This oversight of the court ensures that funds from the trust are not being used improperly.