Chicagoland Estate Planning, Probate & Guardianship Attorneys
Illinois Estate Planning Lawyers Helping Families and Individuals
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy and your obligations to your loved ones do not stop once you die. Planning ahead can help avoid complications, save money, and protect the ones you love. No matter what your situation, it is likely you could benefit from smart estate planning. You may be providing for a minor child or children, or you could have a significant level of assets and/or debts. If you neglect to make decisions regarding how your financial affairs will be settled, an Illinois court could make those decisions for you.
Unfortunately, the court could make very different decisions from those you would have chosen. Without comprehensive estate planning, you have essentially given up your rights to make the decisions you are entitled to make. At LT Law Office , we help you take the sometimes difficult—but necessary—steps needed to create an effective estate plan. Our Chicagoland estate planning attorneys will thoroughly explain everything you need to know regarding:
Living Wills—A living will tells others your wishes in terms of medical care should you become incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. You will state whether you want life-prolonging treatments including blood transfusions, CPR, dialysis, respirator use, surgery and the administration of certain drugs.
Healthcare Power of Attorney—This document makes it possible for another adult in Illinois to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event of your incapacitation.
AB Living Trust—This type of trust is created by a married couple, with a goal of minimizing estate taxes. The trust divides in two when the first spouse dies and is formed when each individual spouse places his or her assets in the trust and names beneficiaries for those assets—other than the other spouse.
Pour-Over Wills—This kind of will can be used in conjunction with a living trust, and allows property which passes through your will following your death to be transferred to a trust to then be distributed to your named beneficiaries. Pour-over wills do not become public record after your death, keeping the details of your estate private.
Special Needs Trusts—A special needs trust benefits an individual with a disability and while it is usually a stand-alone document, it can be a part of the Last Will and Testament.
Wills—A will is the most basic estate planning document which leaves instructions for others as to the distribution of the person’s assets.
Trusts—There are many different types of trusts; your estate planning attorney can guide and help you determine which ones are necessary for your estate.
Power of Attorney—This document gives another person decision-making capabilities. The person who grants the power of attorney determines the amount of power given to the attorney in fact, whether for one specific issue or to handle the majority of the person’s personal and financial matters.
Probate in Illinois
Probate is a court-managed process which occurs following a person’s death. In some cases, probate can be not only lengthy, but expensive as well. If a loved one has recently passed and you are trying to understand the Illinois probate process, it could be beneficial to speak with an attorney from LT Law Office. We understand that you may be confused and even intimidated, and will treat you with the respect and care you deserve. Whether the decedent died with a will or left no will, their estate must be administered through the probate process if the total amount of assets exceeds $100,000.
This amount excludes any 401(k) assets, proceeds from life insurance, IRA funds and joint benefit properties. While many believe that having a will allows you to bypass probate, this is not true, although a carefully prepared will could make the process quicker and less expensive. There are ways to avoid probate altogether, by using a trust of some type such as a revocable living trust, or placing real estate in a land trust. While a will requires a six-month creditors’ waiting period prior to disbursement, trusts have no waiting period. Our Chicagoland estate planning attorneys will work hard to provide you with the fastest path through the complex Illinois probate system, helping you keep costs down and see that your loved one’s wishes are achieved.
Answers to Your Questions Regarding Guardianship
Life is unpredictable, and if you are a parent with minor children, you likely worry about who will care for your children should the unexpected occurs. The guardianship process can be greatly expedited by naming a guardian in your estate plans. This will inform the court of your wishes, and make it much more likely that guardianship will be granted to the person of your choice. There are different types of guardianship: the first is guardianship of the actual person which means you name someone to be responsible for your child’s physical needs. The other type is guardianship of your child’s estate, meaning the person will take care of all financial and legal issues. As part of the estate planning offered by LT Law Office, we will assist you in planning for your children’s future.
You may also need to name a guardian for an adult child with disabilities or for an elderly person who may not be able to competently handle his or her own affairs. Whether you need help selecting a guardian for your minor children, disabled child or elderly person, our law firm can help. You may also be seeking to remove guardianship from someone, or defending guardians against such removal proceedings. No matter the guardianship issue you are facing, we understand it can be daunting and stressful. Having a knowledgeable Chicagoland estate planning lawyer by your side throughout the process can truly give you peace of mind, knowing your loved one will be taken care of after you are gone.
Help Yourself Plan for the Future
LT Law has assisted parents and family members in the state of Illinois in establishing and carrying out all aspects of estate planning. We pride ourselves on being responsive to clients’ needs and we always handle your case directly. We will assess your current situation, and help you prepare an all-inclusive estate plan that will suit your needs and your life. For a knowledgeable estate planning consultation, contact LT Law Office at 630-225-8255.