Estate Planning Considerations

Planning an estate can be a complicated process, even for those with relatively simple estates or only a single beneficiary. Fortunately, there are a few considerations Illinois residents can consider to avoid common estate planning pitfalls. To learn more about these legal strategies, please contact an experienced estate planning lawyer who can advise you.

Legal Documentation

One of the first things testators should take into consideration when beginning the estate planning process is what type of legal documentation they will need to leave their assets to loved ones. For instance, retirement accounts and life insurance policies both have named beneficiaries, so it won’t be necessary for a testator to provide for those assets in his/her will. However, it will be necessary for testators to provide documentation, including beneficiary designations, to their attorneys when initiating the estate planning process. Testators may also want to consider creating:

● A Power of Attorney document, which gives another individual the power to act on their behalf if they are unable to do so due to illness or a lack of capacity;
● An Advanced Health Directive, which communicates a person’s wishes regarding end of life decisions; and
● A trust, which can be used to protect the assets of minor beneficiaries, disabled relatives, or loved ones.

For help crafting an estate plan that meets your specific needs, contact our legal team today.

Executor/Trustee Designations

Those who are beginning the process of planning their estate will also need to start thinking about who they will choose to be the executor of their will or the trustee of their trust. This is an extremely important decision, as the person who is chosen will be required to carry out the decedent’s wishes to the letter, comply with all state and federal laws and remain emotionally detached from any legal challenges presented by the beneficiaries.

Disposing of Assets

It is also critical for Illinois residents who are interested in planning their estates to carefully consider which of their assets they are going to leave to loved ones. It can be easy to overlook assets, making it especially important for testators to make an exhaustive list of their property and assets, including:

● Real estate;
● Collectibles;
● Jewelry;
● Retirement accounts;
● Life insurance policies;
● Vehicles; and
● Stocks and bonds.

Determining who will receive each of these assets can be complicated, but testators should be sure to think over the implications of their decision carefully before making a plan. For instance, a testator may wish to leave his/her home to her niece, but that individual may not be able to afford to maintain the asset and it could end up being a burden. Trying to leave a single valuable asset to multiple individuals can also cause conflict among family members and beneficiaries, which could lead to drawn out and expensive court battles.

Call Our Office Today

For help with your own estate plan, please contact Alan G. Orlowsky. One of our experienced Chicagoland estate planning lawyers can be reached by phone at 847-325-5559 or via online message.

Updated as of July 2019
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