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Illinois Estate Planning And Probate Legal Blog

Exploring the numerous advantages of estate planning

Some individuals in Illinois and across the country may find the process of planning for the unknown to be stressful and intimidating. However, any uncertainty associated with the idea of estate planning could be easily outweighed by the advantages it may offer. By exploring the numerous available options involved with a similar process, one might be able to form a plan to cover a variety of possibilities and avoid a potential disaster down the road.

Although thinking of one's demise can be somewhat daunting, an individual may have preferences as to how his or her assets will be divided upon death. Assigning beneficiaries and keeping estate plans up to date could prove helpful in ensuring that the process goes according to his or her wishes. However, that isn't the only advantage of having a plan in place, as estate planning can also help one enact a strategy for what type of medical care is provided should he or she become incapable of making the necessary decisions.

Trusts: Weighing the advantages of each option in estate planning

Individuals in Illinois and elsewhere may put a great deal of thought into the process of planning for the future. With numerous crucial areas to cover, estate planning can be somewhat intimidating, but one may be able to overcome any hesitations by exploring the advantages of the available options, such as a trust. While trusts can provide a multitude of benefits, it may be advisable to speak with someone with extensive knowledge in estate planning before deciding upon a path.

One potential advantage of a trust lies in the ability to reduce the impact of federal taxes on one's estate, provided assets within the trust exceed a certain monetary threshold. An individual can also use a trust to provide for loved ones according to his or her wishes. A trust can also be used to protect one's assets and assist in charitable distributions.

Covering every aspect of estate planning with guidance

Many individuals in Illinois and across the country have given a fair amount of thought into what they wish to happen to their assets when they are gone. However, while this is one part of estate planning, there are numerous additional benefits that may at times go overlooked. When considering one's wishes for the future, a person might find it advisable to speak with someone with experience in the area for advice on all available options.

It can be challenging to prepare for every possible scenario, perhaps especially those that are unexpected and sudden, such as a medical condition. However, an individual can take certain precautions in this area, such as making his or her wishes known concerning the type of treatment he or she will receive. This can range anywhere from choosing another individual to make the necessary decisions should one become incapable, to dictating the type of care provided during end-of-life treatment.

Estate planning options concerning the family home

Planning for certain life events can seem somewhat stressful and intimidating. However, individuals in Illinois may have an idea of how they want their assets to be divided upon death, and having a plan in place could help ensure their wishes are carried out. For those whose home consists of a considerable portion of their wealth, considering the available estate planning options could prove beneficial in ensuring that loved ones are provided for after they are gone.

While the real estate market may see some changes from time to time, those who have owned a home for a substantial period might have experienced a substantial increase in its value. How to handle this particular asset is a significant concern for many who wish to plan their estate. While these individuals may wish to continue residing in their homes throughout life, their beneficiaries might be less attached to the property.

Long term care planning important to protect the family

The average Illinois resident recognizes the need to plan for the future. Thus, families plan for retirement, vacations and even death. However, one area which many families fail to address is the need for long term care planning.

Family members may think they know what their loved one wants. If a loved one becomes seriously injured or ill with no chance of recovery, does he or she want drastic measures taken to preserve life? Or, if there is no chance of recovery, would the loved one prefer to forgo the extreme measures and simply be allowed to die in peace? Even if the loved one verbally communicated desires to an individual, there may still be questions as to exactly what is appropriate. However, if these desires are written in the form of a living will, the family and physicians know exactly what the individual desires.

Estate planning can go beyond the realm of finances

A person doesn't have to possess a great deal of wealth to plan for the future. Individuals in Illinois and elsewhere could be able to overcome any potential financial barriers by researching the numerous advantages of estate planning. Some of the benefits of a similar process may actually have little to nothing to do with finances, instead focusing more on protecting the interests of loved ones in the event of an untimely accident.

There are numerous available options for planning one's estate, which can cover anything from medical emergencies to the transfer of property and assets. In the event of an untimely accident, or the emergence of a serious medical condition, one may benefit significantly from having a power of attorney in place should he or she suddenly become incapable of making necessary decisions. A person can also enact a plan that dictates how emergencies are handled, and the type of care that he or she will receive in the process.

Addressing some potential misconceptions re estate planning

Individuals in Illinois and across the country may have thought about what will happen after they are gone, but hesitate to plan for it. While some may believe they have plenty of time left to handle such affairs, there may be additional factors that are holding them back, potentially involving certain myths about the process of estate planning. A person may find it beneficial to speak with someone with experience in this area for information before making a decision bases on potential misconceptions.

Some may believe that estate planning is only beneficial for those who are of considerable wealth. One doesn't necessarily have to be wealthy to have a plan in place to ensure that property and assets are handled according to his or her wishes. Estate planning may also go beyond finances, providing many with the ability to plan for a variety of circumstances, such as choosing a person to watch over one's children in the event of an untimely death.

Providing for minor children through a life insurance trust

When you consider the best way to allocate your assets through your Illinois estate plan, your primary focus may be how to ensure that your minor children are cared for financially. We at the law office of Donald R. Johannes, Attorney at Law, understand that a will may not be enough, and we often advise clients on the benefits of a life insurance trust.

NerdWallet.com explains that you may not want to name your young children or their guardian as the beneficiaries of your life insurance policy. If you do, the guardian would probably be the one controlling the funds until they turn 18, and then the balance would be distributed among them. You could let them know that you hope they will be responsible with the money. However, once they receive their inheritance, you would not have any control over how they spend it, even though they may not have the skills to manage such a large sum yet.

Allocating property in a will during estate planning

Even though thoughts of death, planning a funeral and determining how to allocate sentimental possessions to surviving loved ones is not everyone’s top priority, estate planning is actually quite important. Proactive, timely and thorough planning can help to alleviate tension and confusion when one dies. People who are considering estate planning in Illinois can also clearly dictate where their possessions go for peace of mind knowing their valuables made it into the right hands.

According to the Huffington Post, there are a couple of different ways that a person can decide to split up their possessions. These include the following:

  • Auction: Large families can especially benefit from this arrangement by creating an auction where sentimental possessions can be sold off with a virtual point system. In fact, this approach can be a lot of fun for people who want their family to enjoy their belongings, but do not have any strong feelings about who gets what.
  • Alternating turns: Another option for families to consider when estate planning is to have each beneficiary take turns selecting items they would like to keep after the death of their loved one. Taking turns can be done according to age, or individuals can come up with their own unique approach to determining the turn rotation.

Avoiding familial conflict in estate deliberations

While no one enjoys thinking about death or anticipating its inevitability, proper preparation can make the world of difference when it comes to estate planning. Individuals in Illinois who take a proactive role in determining how to allocate their estate can make deliberations much less stressful and contentious for their loved ones following death.

According to the Huffington Post, individuals who are considering beginning to plan their estate and make important decisions regarding their inheritance can take some precautions to eliminate family disputes. These include the following:

  • Clear expression: An individual should take time to explore their litigation options and clearly articulate his or her wishes to avoid leaving statements open to discretion and interpretation. A majority of conflict can be avoided when family members clearly understand how an estate is to be split and who gets what property.
  • Strategizing: Another preventative step that people can take when allocating their estate is to strategize and learn about different their options. Perhaps some methods of estate planning are more appropriate for their needs or the dynamics of their family situation.
  • Delegation: A majority of people who carefully plan their estate will delegate allocation of property to a trusted family member, friend or associate. This person is known as the executor. When identifying this role, an individual should take great care to make sure responsibilities are explicitly stated so there are no disputes regarding authority and leadership.