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Estate Planning

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

If you die without a will, the state does not “take everything” contrary to popular belief. While this is good news, it does not necessarily mean your estate will be distributed according to your wishes. By providing for the distribution of your assets through your Last Will and Testament, your wishes are made known and put into effect. Also, if you have minor children, a designation of a guardian in your Last Will and Testament serves to make known your wishes as to who you believe is best suited to raise your children.

Elizabeth A. Beck, an experienced Estate Planning attorney, with over 30 years of practice experience, can guide you through the creation of this legal document and help you write a will that expresses your final wishes.

THINKING OF SETTING UP A TRUST?

A trust is an arrangement that allows a person or entity to hold assets that have been placed in the trust – real estate, money, stocks, etc. – for the benefit of a beneficiary. Many of today’s trusts are Grantor Trusts in which the person establishing the trust serves as Trustee and is also the beneficiary. Upon the Grantor’s death, the Trust document provides for the distribution of the assets held in the trust. These Grantor Trusts are commonly known as “Living Trusts”. Trusts such as these can be a very useful tool in your estate plan. Trusts can help you avoid Probate, protect your estate from your heirs’ creditors or from beneficiaries who are not adept at money management.

Since state laws vary significantly in the area of trusts, it pays to consult an estate planning attorney regarding the best fit for your needs. That’s where Elizabeth A. Beck can help. She has decades of experience in the creation and administration of trusts.

TRANSFER ON DEATH INSTRUMENTS (TODI)

Illinois law now allows the transfer of residential real property to a beneficiary outside of probate using a Transfer On Death Instrument. If you are concerned with your estate being probated because your sole asset is your home, then preparing a TODI might be the best option. If you are an Agent under a Power of Attorney for property, you need to know what limitations there are under the law regarding selling or liquidating real estate that is the subject of a TODI. Get the help you need to navigate this tricky area of estate planning by consulting an experienced Estate Planning Attorney today.

POWER OF ATTORNEY FOR HEALTHCARE AND PROPERTY

It is important to document your wishes regarding the kinds of healthcare treatment you do or do not wish to receive in the event that you are incapable of making your own wishes known. Naming someone you trust to oversee these decisions is a much better option than leaving these decisions in the hands of strangers. The Power of Attorney for Healthcare is an important document that names the person you want to be in charge of your healthcare, known as your “Agent” ,but it also includes statements regarding your wishes on the issue of life support and life sustaining treatment. Also, as the Illinois Statutory Power of Attorney for Healthcare form has undergone some significant changes, it is a good idea to review any existing Power of Attorney for Healthcare. Contact Elizabeth A. Beck today for an attorney who can help you navigate the Power of Attorney as it pertains to your healthcare treatment.

Along with preparing a Power of Attorney for Healthcare, you should also consider having a Power of Attorney for Property prepared which allows your agent to make your financial decisions in the event you are unable to do so. A copy of your Power of Attorney for Property is given to banks, investment companies, pension plans, etc. and allows your agent to transact business on your behalf which can include paying your bills from your checking account, making stock transactions, signing your income tax returns, and/or conducting business with social security or insurance companies.

By having both a Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Healthcare in place, you may avoid the costs and emotional turmoil that a Guardianship proceeding involves.