Wills, Trusts & Estate Planning

Are you considering writing a will for the first time? Has your family situation changed and now you need to change an existing estate plan? Whatever your need or circumstances we can help.

We counsel clients on the most effective way to reach their estate planning goals, whether that is to bypass probate, to communicate your wishes for medical care to your family, or to plan for nursing home care for yourself or a parent.

Our many years of experience has taught us that information about assets and income is only a small part of what is needed to prepare an appropriate estate plan. Equally important is an understanding of the dynamics of the family and their circumstances, needs and goals. That’s why we spend time getting to know each of our clients personally in a one-to-one consultation.s taught us that information about assets and income is only a small part of what is needed to prepare an appropriate estate plan. Equally important is an understanding of the dynamics of the family and their circumstances, needs and goals. That’s why we spend time getting to know each of our clients personally in a one-to-one consultation.

In Estate Planning, One Size Does NOT Fit All

For a young single person or a young married couple, a Last Will & Testament and a health care directive may be all that’s needed to communicate your wishes to your family and heirs.

When a child is added into the family, it will be important to consider naming a guardian should both parents die before the child reaches the age of 18. You may also consider establishing a trust to provide financially for your child, and naming a trustee to make financial decisions until the child comes of age. In fact, a trust will allow you to delay or phase in the amount of money your child receives at one time.

For same sex couples, comprehensive estate planning documents are needed to define rights, responsibilities and relationships as domestic partners. A cohabitation agreement can be added to the mix of wills, trusts, and powers of attorney.

For a single person or a couple that owns a family business, succession planning can give you peace of mind that the management and assets of your business will pass into the proper hands.

For families with a disabled adult child or a dependent elder parent, additional considerations come to the forefront. Powers of attorney for financial decision making allows someone to pay the bills and make financial decisions. Powers of attorney for healthcare allows someone to make medical decisions. And trusts, particularly special needs trusts, may become even more important as a means to provide assistance for disabled relatives without jeopardizing eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits or Medicare assistance to pay for healthcare and nursing home.

An Estate Planning Tool for Every Need

Our clients have a variety of goals in mind when they choose to develop an estate plan:

  • Asset protection now and minimizing estate taxes in the future
  • Passing property and assets to the next generation
  • Paying for college or nursing home care
  • Leaving a charitable legacy
  • Avoiding probate
  • Transferring a business

Learn more about which tools can be used to achieve your specific goals. Our estate planning lawyers are available to explain options such as charitable foundations or charitable remainder trusts, living trusts, generation skipping trusts (GSTs), irrevocable life insurance trusts, minor’s trusts, special needs trusts, tuition trusts, qualified terminable interests in property (QTIPs), and many more.

Probate & Estate Administration

Upon the death of a loved one, immediate action will be required to begin to address the estate. The home must be maintained, bills will come due — someone will need to see to these details. Then the task of documenting the estate and dividing the assets will begin.

The probate and estate administration process includes a host of small steps as well as a host of legal requirements. Each step must be completed in a certain order and in a timely fashion. The will must be filed. Reports must be made to the Illinois Probate Court. Taxes must be filed with the state and federal government.

Our probate lawyers are skilled at guiding executors and personal representatives through the probate or estate administration process. We will ensure that all of the proper paperwork is filed with the court. We will assist with step-by-step guidance so that the estate is handled properly in order to minimize any risk of legal challenge or personal liability on the part of the executor.