Estate planning is the process of creating legal security for your future. An estate plan can benefit everyone at any time in their life.
While many people only think of estate planning as being beneficial to older people, it is incredibly important for everyone, including parents and single individuals.
Is Estate Planning Just For What Happens After I Die Or Could Estate Planning Benefit Me During My Lifetime As Well?
Estate planning is absolutely beneficial throughout a person’s lifetime, as well as in death.
Very often, people may assume that an estate plan only becomes useful once they have passed away. Luckily, this is not the case. There are many different forms of estate planning that may be important at any stage in a person’s life.
Consider, for example, Living Wills: These are documents that can be used in situations where a person may be permanently ill. A living will can explain their wishes and provide an outline for how they would like their affairs to be handled.
Additionally, another useful tool that can be included in an estate plan is the Power of Attorney. This provides a trusted individual with the legal authority to make decisions about the healthcare and estate of a person who is alive but has become incapacitated in such a way that they are now no longer able to make decisions for themselves.
What Are Some Of The Most Important Components That Should Be Part Of Everyone’s Estate Planning Documents?
Our firm typically encourages our clients to focus on Wills and Powers of Attorney, these are typically the most important and useful documents.
Many people assume that estate planning is specifically for people who are near the end of their life and that these plans only deal with what will happen to someone’s assets when they die. However, it’s important to consider what may happen if you are alive but somehow incapacitated. These situations are improved significantly by having prepared an estate plan in advance.
One major crux of these plans is the Power of Attorney, which is so useful in securing an advocate to oversee the matters of healthcare and property.
What Exactly Is A Will And Is A Will Enough On Its Own In Illinois?
Essentially, a Will is a way for a person to dictate how their assets are to be distributed upon their death. Depending on the size of a person’s estate, a Will can be enough on its own. There are some cases, however, when a will is not substantial enough to sufficiently cover a person’s entire estate.
The question of whether or not a Will is enough to cover a person’s needs is quite broad and difficult to answer with a single sweeping statement. Each person’s fact pattern and estate needs are completely unique. Therefore, it’s important to have an in-depth look at the whole picture before it’s possible to determine whether or not a Will is, in and of itself, sufficient.
What Happens If Someone Dies In Illinois Without Having Done Any Estate Planning?
In Illinois, dying without a will or any estate planning is referred to as “Dying Intestate”.
Dying Intestate will mean that the Illinois state statutes will determine what happens to your assets and to who they are distributed. Very often, in Dying Intestate cases, assets distributed via these statutes will go to kin following a specific order as laid out by the law.
For example, if a person who was married with children Dies Intestate, 50% of their assets will go to their spouse, and the other 50% of their assets will go to their children in equal shares.
Statutes in the state of Illinois regarding matters of Dying Intestate list a myriad of different situations and how they should be handled according to whether or not the deceased has a spouse, children, or siblings, etc.
What Exactly Is A Trust And What Are The Most Common Types Of Trusts Used In Illinois And Their Benefits?
A Trust is very similar to a Will, its main difference is in that the Trust allows assets to be distributed outside of the probate process.
A Trust will describe how a person wishes for their estate to be distributed, what assets they have, how they want those assets to be distributed, and who they want those assets to go to.
A trust can also allow a person more flexibility and control over the details of matters such as funerals, cremation, and other things that they may wish to establish. There is the opportunity when forming a Trust to be very specific about what occurs after death that is not typically seen in a Will.
The majority of Trusts are Revocable Trusts, which can be revoked or changed at any point in which you are still alive and have the legal capacity to do so.
An Irrevocable Trust, the other most common type of trust, will be final and unchangeable once it has been executed.
There are several other kinds of trusts available, however, they tend to cover much more niche situations and are specific to any individual’s unique circumstances.