${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt} ATTORNEY AT LAW

Phone TollFree

Illinois Estate Planning And Probate Legal Blog

Helping illinois women to be comfortable with estate planning

People may spend time thinking about their loved ones being all right and taken care of after they have died. Illinois women, especially, may worry about their children, and who will look after matters when they are no longer around to do so. A leading health care organization in Illinois recently told a number of women who attended a talk that estate planning is conducive to positive mental and physical health.

More than 70% of the population in the United States do not having any estate planning documents in place. It's important for people to understand their importance. Many people just don't know where to begin when it comes to estate planning, but it doesn't have to be a daunting task, hence the need for seminars and information sessions that can help women to get the information they need to start.

Changes can impact estate planning needs

Change occurs on a regular basis. The makeup of the Illinois family can change as the result of birth, death, marriage or divorce. Additionally, the financial situation that each family finds themselves in can change due to changes in income, investments, tax laws and a number of other factors. With this in mind, it is imperative that each individual also recognize the need to review his or her estate planning portfolio in order to analyze how these types of changes will impact the family and ultimate desires of the individual.

One of the first steps in the estate planning process is to create a will specifying what assets the individual owns and who should inherit these assets. However, over time, these assets can change and/or circumstances may occur  that indicate the need to modify beneficiary information. For example, a change in family status due to birth, death or divorce may indicate the need to modify who should inherit. Without this modification, it is possible that unintended emotional and financial turmoil may be the result and the individual's final wishes may not be carried out.

Long term care planning: About LTC insurance

Life has a way of throwing the most difficult curve balls. Illinois residents who are thinking about long term care planning should have some knowledge about long term care (LTC) insurance and how it can benefit them when it comes to getting care in advancing years. Just a little more than seven million Americans have LTC insurance which covers things not covered by Medicare.

Terms for traditional policies today usually include a monetary figure for coverage in a nursing home. There is a waiting period of about three months for insurance to begin for about three years of coverage. The problem is that not many people want to buy such insurance, so few firms are selling it. Premiums are usually around $2,700 a year, which many Americans can't afford. Those with few assets may be able to utilize Medicaid to cover long term care costs.

Estate planning especially crucial for Illinois entrepreneurs

Business owners need to take extra precautions to safeguard their assets. Illinois entrepreneurs must be most mindful in their estate planning documents to take steps to ensure the protection of their businesses when they are no longer at the helm. Many business owners are so focused on running their businesses that they forget to take the time to draft important documents such as wills, financial powers of attorney or living trusts. 

When there is a need to transfer the financial authority of a business to another person, a financial power of attorney is needed. A business owner never knows when he or she will no longer be able to make essential decisions. The person acting in this capacity can do things like pay bills and make any other pertinent financial arrangements for the business. 

Illinois estate planning: Inheriting a home

Individuals writing estate plans have much to think about when it comes to their assets and who should inherit what. Illinois residents who are in the throes of estate planning may be home owners, and leaving real estate to a loved one or loved ones takes some careful planning. There are some important things to know, too, for those who will be inheriting or who have already inherited a home.

The first major decision, when on the receiving end of real estate, is to decide whether to keep the home or to sell it. While the beneficiary is pondering this, it's crucial, if no one is living in the residence, to make sure it looks as though someone is and to make sure the property continues to be insured. If the beneficiary chooses not to move into the home, he or she could always lease the property if it has sentimental value and the person doesn't want to part with it just yet, if ever.

Karl Lagerfeld's death brings up estate planning for pet care

The late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld adored his beloved cat, Choupette. Like many Illinois pet owners, Lagerfeld likely included providing for the welfare of his furry family member in his estate planning. His cat was like a fashion accessory and he rarely went anywhere without her. In fact, the feline has her own Instagram account, does a bit of modeling and has a coffee table book. The fashion icon's death brings up the question of how pet owners should plan for the care of their pets should their pets outlive them.

About 85 million families in the United States have pets that are considered family members. As such, those who plan their estates may wish to give thought to making caregiver and financial arrangements for their pets -- whether they may be cats, dogs, birds, lizards or any other creatures. Gifting a pet to a friend or family member doesn't ensure the animal will be cared for. Those who want to make sure their pets continue to live happy lives should discuss care options with the people they are considering naming as guardians of their pets.

Wealth doesn't lead to increased long term care planning

Most people live in the moment. However, Illinois residents who are getting on in age should take some time to consider long term care planning and what that may mean for their futures. Most people are still active and healthy well into their 50s and 60s and beyond, but planning for old age is a necessity and putting it off may not be the wisest idea, even if there is more than enough money in the bank.

It seems that wealth doesn't lead to increased planning when it comes to people's future health. In fact, a survey of 150 financial advisors in the United States showed that less than a quarter of their clients with high net worths had long term care plans. Many have chosen to use their funds in other areas such as financing children's educations or purchasing properties.

Illinois blended families are a consideration for estate planning

Blended families are a way of life today. Illinois residents who are in second marriages might wish to consider these family members during their estate planning, so no one feels slighted.  But it may not be that easy, since children and stepchildren often don't see eye-to-eye and there may be hard feelings no matter what.

There may be ways around this, though. Perhaps each spouse will choose to leave assets to their natural children and that will be that. However, if one spouse is financially dependent on the other, he or she will inherit the assets of his or her spouse and his or children may have to wait to get their share of the pie. That could mean many years depending upon the surviving spouse's age.

Baby boomers want adult kids to step up estate planning

Most people over the age of 50 want to invest in the futures of their children and grandchildren. But if Illinois residents of this ilk were to peg one thing that irks them about estate planning, it's how little their children pay attention to their own estate plans. Most Baby boomers had legacy building foist onto them from their Greatest Generation parents, and they wish their children would follow suit.

Most Baby boomers are now in their 60s and 70s and they're more concerned than ever with continued legacy building. In fact, a recent study has shown that more than 65 percent of these folks actually want their children and grandchildren to benefit from any wealth they've amassed. But their kids have to step up to the plate to make sure that happens. 

Choosing the right estate planning methods in Illinois

Individuals who want to keep their affairs private may want to think about what kinds of estate plans they're writing. Illinois residents in the throes of estate planning need to know that there are differences between will-based estate plans and those built around trusts. In a nutshell, information included in wills becomes public record once the testator dies. Trusts, on the other hand, remain private.

Instructions in a will usually go through probate and once that happens, everything in it becomes open to public scrutiny. People know who was left what and who was left nothing. Names of everyone in the will can easily be accessed. Anyone who walks into the probate court can have access to the will to see what the testator owned and owed.