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Estate Planning in Illinois

Assisting clients with estate planning in St. Charles, IL, Kane County, DuPage County and throughout the Fox Valley.

Many people believe that estate planning is only for people who are particularly wealthy, have elaborate plans in mind for passing their money to their heirs, or for people who are acutely ill and contemplating their death. This could not be farther from the truth!

Estate planning is for every husband, wife, mother, father, grandparent, business owner, professional, or anyone else who has someone they care about, are concerned about providing responsibly for their own well being and for the well being of those they love, and for anyone who seeks to make a difference in the lives of others after they're gone. Estate planning is not 'death planning'; it's 'life planning', and an essential and rewarding process for individuals and families who engage in it.

When done properly, estate planning requires that a highly trained individual lead you through one or more in-depth meetings to uncover your hopes, fears, and expectations for yourself and for those who are most important to you. This process almost always requires the preparation of several sophisticated legal documents, but those documents themselves are not 'estate planning.' Planning is a process, represented by a complete strategy that is properly documented and maintained by a professional who has taken the time to get to know you, and who is committed to continuing to serve you.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

Perhaps the most common type of trust is the revocable living trust. As the name implies, revocable trusts are fully revocable at the request of the trust maker. Thus, assets transferred (or 'funded') to a revocable trust remain within the control of the trust maker; the trust maker (or trust makers if it is a joint revocable trust) can simply revoke the trust and have the assets returned. Revocable trusts can be excellent vehicles for disability planning, privacy, and probate avoidance.  Revocable living trust based estate plan provides instructions that will allow you to:
  • Control your property while you are alive
  • Take care of you and your loved ones in the event of disability
  • Pass your property to your heirs when and how you want while maintaining privacy
  • Ensure that you and your spouse have sufficient assets to maintain your standard of living now and in retirement.
  • Maintain maximum control and flexibility during your lifetime.
  • Provide for you in the event you become disabled.
  • Simplify administration as much as possible upon your death or disability (avoiding probate & guardianship).
  • Avoid having your private matters being made public unnecessarily.
  • Ensure that the efforts you desire are used to save your life.
  • Have your property continue to benefit the survivor after one of you dies.
  • If married, protect your assets so that they cannot be lost as a result of remarriage after the death of one of you.
  • Ensure that the persons you select in fact become the guardians of your minor children.
  • Protect your children's or grandchildren's inheritance from mismanagement.
  • Structure your children's or grandchildren's inheritance in such a way that it installs values and virtues.
  • Educate your children and grandchildren.
  • Reduce the risk of litigation from heirs who receive less than they think they are entitled to.
  • Minimize income taxes to the extent possible.
  • Avoid or minimize capital gain tax on the sale of assets.
  • Eliminate as much estate tax as possible.

What is a Will?

A will - or a 'last will and testament' - is a legal document that tells the probate court how you want your property distributed after you die, and who has the power and responsibility to wrap up your affairs. Through the probate process the court will give the 'executor' of your will the authority to gather all of your property, pay any remaining creditors' bills, and distribute your remaining property as you specify in your will.
Because the will takes effect only after a court determined that it is a valid document, a judge must act before your executor can step in and manage your estate.

What Happens if I Die Without Estate Planning?

Persons who fail to plan during their lives and die without creating a will or revocable living trust 'die intestate'.  Illinois has laws that dictate how an intestate person's property will be distributed leaving you with absolutely no control. Property may go to people you don't want and in ways that you never intended.  Dying intestate means no tax planning was done on your behalf.



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 Do you know for certain if your Estate Plan accomplishes your wishes for you and your family  under the current Estate and Income Tax Laws and in your currrent circumstances?

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