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Orland Park will and trust attorney

In life, it can be a good idea to plan ahead, since no one knows what the future holds. Estate planning is the process of arranging in advance for the management and disposal of your estate both while you are alive and after your death. Estate planning is crucial for your future as well as your family’s well-being. Wills and trusts are two of the most common legal documents that are created in the estate planning process. Both handle finances and assets, but they do so in different ways. Many families seek legal assistance to create one, if not both, of these estate planning tools to have peace of mind in regards to their future.

What Does a Will Do?

A will details what will happen to you and your assets after your death. It will state how you want your affairs handled and how your property should be distributed to your heirs. While many young adults and parents do not take the time to consider their own death, addressing these issues can ensure that your wishes are followed correctly. If you have minor children, you should take the time to appoint guardians to ensure that they will be taken care of by people you know and trust. If this is not decided before death, children may be placed into the hands of a family member who you would not want to care for their children. 

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Oak Forest estate planning attorney

While a will documents your wishes for what will happen with your belongings after your death, a living trust allows you to determine how to handle your assets both while you are alive and after you have passed. In your trust, you may be called the “grantor,” “settlor,” or “trustor,” and you will be able to designate who will get your possessions. These people are called your “beneficiaries.” You will also name someone as your “trustee,” which means that he or she will be the one to ensure that your wishes are carried out correctly.

You may be your own trustee, or you can name a survivor trustee who will take control of the trust after your death. You may also set yourself up as a beneficiary of the trust while you are living, and you can add others as beneficiaries, including a spouse, children, or a friend. A living trust can be changed as you feel necessary at any time, or you may cancel it altogether. The trust will be empty until it is funded, which means that until you have transferred your assets to the trust, it will not go into effect.

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Understanding Contested Wills in Illinois

Tinley Park contested estate attorneyWhen someone dies and leaves a will, that will is probably going to end up going through probate, the legal process of proving, settling, and finalizing the will. The vast majority of wills go through probate without incident, but every once in a while, a will is contested for its validity. Typically, the person who is contesting the will is unhappy with the will in some way and attempts to have the will thrown out. 

Who Can Contest a Will?

In Illinois, a person must have “standing” to contest a will, meaning that they must be affected in some way by the will. The person must have a direct, financial, and existing interest that would be negatively affected if the will were to be accepted by the court.

According to the Illinois Probate Act, those wishing to contest a will must file a petition with the court within six months of the will being admitted to probate in order to have their petition heard. Any petitions filed after the six-month period will not be considered.

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4 Estate Planning Mistakes That You Should Avoid

Tinley Park estate planning lawyerNobody wants to think about their death. It is not an enjoyable idea to consider, and it is even less pleasant to discuss. Even though the topic is never fun, it is important that you begin planning for your family’s financial future as early as possible. Having a sound and solid estate plan can help you and your family have peace of mind by knowing that the future is well planned for. Here are some common estate planning mistakes that people make:

1. Not Having an Estate Plan

Statistics show that more than half of Americans have not made a will or plans for their finances after they die. Estate planning is not just financial planning--you are also planning for your own health and well-being. It also means that you are providing your loved ones with an organized inheritance and less stress when your time comes.

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The 5 Steps of the Illinois Probate Process

Orland Park estate planning lawyer probate processMost people do not know a lot about probate until a loved one dies, and the ones that do know about it think that it is a long and frustrating process. While the probate process can indeed be lengthy, it does not have to be frustrating or complicated. 

What Is the Probate Process?

Probate is the legal process that a deceased person’s estate goes through to be properly distributed to heirs and designated beneficiaries. Typically, a person’s property is distributed according to the deceased person’s last will and testament, but if there is no will, property is distributed according to state law. During the probate process, the following steps are taken:

1. File the Will in Probate Court and Notify Beneficiaries

The probate process begins when a petition is filed in the local probate court to place the will into probate and appoint an executor of the estate. If the deceased person did not have a will, the petition will ask the court to appoint a person as an administrator for the estate. The notice of the hearing must be given to all beneficiaries, which allows them to contest the will in court if they object to the terms of the will. The notice should also be published in a newspaper in the county in which the petition was filed. 

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8 Ways an Estate Plan Can Protect Your Family’s Financial Future

Oak Forest estate planning lawyer family financesNearly half of Americans do not have a will, and even less than that have an estate plan. It is not hard to see why, since nobody wants to think about what will happen when they die. However, it is important to plan for your family’s financial future. Almost everyone can benefit from having a will, but if you are not sure if you need an estate plan, here are some things to consider:

1. Children

If you have a child, it is important to decide what will happen to them in the event that you and your spouse die. In a will, you can name a guardian to take care of your child, but you should also state what assets the child might inherit and who is to take care of those assets until the child is old enough to gain access to them.

If you need something more extensive than a will, a trust might be the best option. A trust allows another person to hold assets on behalf of the person receiving them, and it can minimize estate taxes.

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