Estate Planning Lawyer Bloomington IL
Estate Planning Lawyer Bloomington IL Explains Importance of Drafting Estate Plans. Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, an estate planning lawyer Bloomington IL residents can count on, has been offering legal assistance for 79 years. As a family-run law firm, we help clients take proactive steps to ease tax burdens through estate planning and legal trusts. Estate planning not only includes the creation of wills; it also protects assets and asset owners who may be susceptible to financial or physical abuse.
A Dedicated Bloomington Estate Planning Lawyer
An estate planning lawyer Bloomington IL respects from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols may handle all aspects of your case. Our law firm serves as an advocate and resource to those who might have concerns about the protection and distribution of their wealth and assets. We understand the complexities and laws associated with estate planning, and we remain committed to preventing unnecessary catastrophes. Guided by this willful determination, we build long-term relationships with our clients.
Understanding Estate Planning
A basic estate plan typically consists of a last will and testament, a power of attorney, and a living will. These three documents form the basic building blocks of a proper estate plan. They facilitate the proper administration of a person’s estate while they are living but unable to make decisions for themselves. They also provide for the basic disposition of a person’s assets after their death. For many people, this is the extent of their estate planning needs.
Some people require a more complex estate plan including the use of trusts. If you’re unsure, an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington IL may help you determine which plan is ideal for your situation.
Will and Trust Preparation Attorney
Traditionally estate planning has been viewed as dealing with the disposition of property after death, however, it encompasses much more. It is a dynamic process that takes into account personal and family goals throughout a client’s lifetime as well as after their death. The attorneys at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols take time to understand your unique situation. Together we may decide which instrument best serves your needs, the needs of your beneficiaries, and the needs of charitable organizations you are connected to.
There are many ways to dispose of your property through the use of wills and trusts. We may talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of every option available to you. Our attorneys may also provide experienced counsel as to the best option to execute your desires. Our representation includes:
- Wills and trusts
- Life insurance trusts
- Power of attorneys
- Advanced health care directives
- Elective share planning
- Creditor’s claims
- Fiduciary litigation
- Trust contests
- Special needs trusts
If you need assistance with any of the aforementioned, you may want to contact an estate planning lawyer Bloomington IL families can count on.
Why You Should Start Your Estate Planning Today
Terms such as “estate” and “last will” may seem daunting, especially for young people (who often haven’t thought as much about their mortality or long-term wealth management), but they really aren’t anything to be nervous about. At some point, everyone will need to consider their estate and make decisions about what should happen in the event that they pass away. There are several reasons why you shouldn’t wait to start your estate planning, even if you think you’re too young.
Protection for Your Family
While obvious, the most basic reason not to put off this kind of planning is to protect and provide for your family. Even if you think you don’t have enough wealth or assets to really make a difference, it should be your top priority to make sure that things are ordered in such a way that your spouse, children or other family members receive what they ought to receive if something happens to you. Bank accounts, investments, property and other assets should all be covered in this process. Some of these considerations can get complicated, so it’s always a good idea to hire an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington, IL, such as Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols, to help you tackle it and do it right. The last thing you want is to leave your estate (and perhaps your family) vulnerable simply because you neglected to be thorough and get the help you needed!
Peace of Mind
On a similar note, getting your estate planning done (or at least a first draft of it to get started) will give you great peace of mind from day to day. Even if you’re young, the uncertainty of what will happen if you pass early can become a nagging stresser that builds up over time. Give yourself the gift of peace by getting it done. And remember, it’s okay if it feels overwhelming; just be sure to reach out to an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington, IL, to help you, such as Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols.
Finally, a great benefit of organizing your estate is that it helps you to take stock of where you are financially and where you want to be ten, twenty or more years from now. Even the act of planning your estate will help to give you a better appreciation for the financial and other blessings you’ve been given, and out of that appreciation you can find motivation to keep saving handling your wealth well for the sake of your loved ones.
Don’t be afraid to start tackling your estate planning today. After all, being prepared for whatever happens can pay dividends for both you and your family for generations to come!
FAQs About Living Trusts
What Is the Difference Between a Living Trust and a Will?
A living trust is a vehicle for managing only the assets you put inside it. It’s going to exist while you live and after you die. A will provides for what happens to your assets after you die, and only goes into effect at that time.
What Are the Benefits of a Living Trust?
The biggest advantage to a living trust is that it allows your assets to skip the lengthy, costly probate process. A living trust can also hold assets, for example, if you want your children to receive money on their 25th, 30th and 35th birthdays, you can set up your trust to do that. Your estate planning lawyer in Bloomington IL, from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols can explain more benefits of a living trust to you.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Living Trust?
Not all of your assets may be owned by the trust. These include life insurance policies and some retirement accounts. If you forget to retitle your assets such as bank accounts, vehicles and your home into the name of the trust, they may still have to go through probate. If you rely solely on a trust, without a will, any assets left out of the trust will be disbursed to your heirs according to state law. Setting up a living trust can also feel prohibitively expensive.
Who Should Be Your Trustee?
Many people choose themselves to be the trustee of their living trust. This allows them to control their assets during their lifetime. However, they can also name friends, relatives or law firms as their trustee. If you name yourself the trustee, an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington IL may advise you to choose at least one backup trustee to take over when you die.
Should You Also Have a Will?
You should definitely have a will. Many times, an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington IL, might advise a “pour over will,” which directs assets to pour over into the trust after your death. This protects all your assets from probate. Your Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols attorney can help you draft the right will for your particular situation.
Do You Still Need a Power of Attorney?
Even if you name someone else as the trustee of your living trust, you should also draft a power of attorney, giving someone the legal right to handle your finances for you in the event you’re incapacitated due to illness or injury. These two people can be the same person for simplicity’s sake.
Estate Planning Lawyer Bloomington IL Trust Discusses the Role of the Executor
As you and an estate planning lawyer draw up a trust, will, or estate plan, there will be a time in which you must choose an executor. This should not be immediately decided as it is a role that requires care, attention, honesty, and trust. On the other hand, if you are being asked to become the executor of a trust, you should take some time to think about what will be expected of you.
To speak immediately with a Bloomington IL estate planning lawyer about assigning an executor, please call Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. We have been helping people draft estate plans of every kind and complexity. Regardless of what your needs might be, we can help.
What is the role of an executor?
An executor of an estate oversees the disposition of property and possessions. For some, the role of an executor is an honor. For others, this role is particularly scary. The executor of an estate has a duty to ensure the deceased person’s last wishes are granted with respect to the distribution of their personal assets. In addition to this task, an executor must make sure that all debts and taxes are paid with the remainder being distributed to the right beneficiaries.
An executor does not have to be a legal expert; however, an estate planning lawyer would advise you that he or she be honest, trustworthy, mature, and diligent. An executor is not entitled to any proceeds from the sale of property or assets of the estate. They may receive compensation for administering it once everything has been completed. Usually, a lawyer will hold this compensation and pass it onto the executor at the right time.
Duties of an Executor
An executor of an estate will have many duties to fulfill. Some of these include:
- Locating the assets of the deceased and keeping them safe until their distribution.
- Determining whether or not the probate process will be necessary.
- Locating and contracting people named in the will or trust.
- Ensuring the will is filed in the right probate court. A lawyer can assist with this.
- Cancel credit cards, notify financial institutions about the death, contact the Social Security Administration, and so forth.
- Opening a bank account for the estate.
- Paying the mortgage, insurance, and any other recurring payments.
- Pay off creditors, debts, and final taxes.
- Oversee the distribution of the property and assets.
Depending on how large the estate is, there could be several other duties for an executor to perform. Before naming an executor for your own estate you should make sure he or she will be able to handle the tasks you are assigning to him or her.
How To Choose an Executor
It’s always a good idea to name an executor when drafting your will and sometimes it is even beneficial to name a backup executor in case your first choice declines or is unable to fulfill the role. An estate planning lawyer in Bloomington, IL can help you determine who might be the best option to serve as the executor of your will.
Choose Someone Trustworthy
An executor can be chosen from friends, family, or professionals, but you want to make sure that you can fully trust this person. They will be responsible for completing the distribution of the assets you have left behind. An executor can also be included as a beneficiary in your will. However, if you feel that any of your wishes might be difficult to carry out it might be easier for your beneficiaries to see a third party serve as the executor of your estate. Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols is a trusted estate planning lawyer in Bloomington, IL that can help you decide who might be the most trustworthy executor for your estate.
Choose Someone Good With Details
Since executors are responsible for a wide array of tasks such as relieving unpaid debts, canceling bank and credit card accounts, contacting all institutions and notifying them of your death, as well as distributing all the assets, it is imperative that you have someone who has administrative strengths. Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols recommends you choose someone with the ability to pay attention to detail and to see tasks through to completion. Individuals with these characteristics are the best options to fulfill the role of an executor.
Choose Someone Steady
As you are meeting with your estate planning lawyer in Bloomington, IL you may come to understand that you need to choose an executor who will be of stable mind after your passing. You want to consider the fact that many people will be mourning your loss and might have a difficult time coping with your death. It’s best to choose someone who feels they will be ready and able to complete the tasks at hand, even while grieving. For some people, having to sort through all the paperwork and other work involved would be too much of a burden during an already emotionally taxing time.
The executor of your will has an important role as the person who will carry out your wishes regarding your estate after your passing. It’s important to consider these few points while determining who might be best suited to serve as your executor.
Talk with an Estate Planning Lawyer for Personal Legal Advice
Planning out your estate is no easy task. Furthermore, it has to be accurate and legally stand in a court of law. Even one wrong word could lead to serious complications. To avoid this, you should consult with an estate planning lawyer Bloomington IL clients recommend who can help you to draft a legally binding will, trust, and estate plan.
Schedule a Free Consultation with an Estate Planning Lawyer Bloomington IL Residents Deserve
Estate planning is crucial to the protection of your wealth and assets. Without it, you risk lengthy court battles and legal matters which could cause a serious disruption in your life. To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to consider talking to the lawyers at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols. For a free consultation with an estate planning lawyer Bloomington IL trusts, please call our office today.
Common Questions Regarding Beneficiary Designations for Estate Planning
Are you in the process of developing your estate plan? One consideration to bear in mind is the importance of making sure that you have designated beneficiaries on all accounts that allow you to do so. Beneficiary designations may seem like a fleeting thought but, they are critical for a variety of reasons. A Bloomington IL estate planning lawyer can help you by developing an estate plan and in making sure that all of your accounts have both primary and contingent or secondary beneficiary designations.
What are beneficiary designations?
Some accounts that you may have, provide you with the ability to choose who will inherit assets when you pass away. Beneficiary designations are a way of being able to identify the person who will benefit from your assets. In some cases, you may have the ability to choose more than one primary beneficiary. Should you name multiple people, your assets will be divided equally amongst them. Some accounts that are likely to allow for beneficiary designations include:
- Retirement accounts
- Investment accounts
- Checking accounts
- Life insurance policies
What is a contingent beneficiary designation?
Once you have made beneficiary designations, you are not completely done with the process. You will then need to name a secondary or contingent beneficiary designation. This is the person who may inherit your assets if the original person you designated has passed away.
Do accounts with beneficiary designations go through probate?
In most cases, accounts that have a beneficiary designation are not required to go through the probate process. As an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington IL can explain, beneficiary designations on accounts often override anything you have outlined in your will. Because of this, it’s important that you keep these designations up-to-date to ensure that assets go to the correct person should you pass away. Avoiding the probate process is beneficial because it allows your beneficiaries to gain access to accounts in a timely manner.
How often should I review or update accounts with beneficiary designations?
Keeping beneficiary designations up to date can ensure that your assets do not fall into the wrong hands. Regularly update them with the assistance of your Bloomington IL estate planning lawyer, especially when you experience life changes such as:
- Birth of children
Making sure that you have kept your beneficiaries updated can help reduce the risk of family conflict should you pass away. Beneficiary designations can provide for a seamless transfer process to beneficiaries, especially if you keep these designations updated.
What happens if I did not designate beneficiaries on my accounts?
If your beneficiaries are outdated or you have failed to make beneficiary designations, you will not have the ability to choose who should inherit these assets in the event of your passing. Should this occur, your benefits or assets will become part of your estate. As a result, assets from accounts that may have been protected from probate may become a part of proceedings. When assets go through probate they may be subject to estate taxes and utilized as payment towards your debts before they can be distributed to heirs. It could be a significant period of time before a beneficiary is even able to obtain their inheritance.
It’s important to understand beneficiary designations in addition to making sure they are regularly reviewed. Without the proper designations, your accounts may be subject to probate, which could impact the inheritance of your loved ones. Speak with an estate planning lawyer Bloomington IL clients trust from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols to ensure that you have an estate plan and beneficiary designations complete for when the time comes.
Estate Planning Lawyer Bloomington IL
You may be surprised and delighted to find when it comes time for you to plan exactly how you want your estate distributed you can find an outstanding estate planning lawyer right here in Bloomington IL.
If you’re like many people, your estate plan may be fairly straight forward and include these three basic documents: a last will and testament, a power of attorney, and a living will. Taken together, you have the basic foundation of a simple yet solid estate plan. They actually can help you make sure the proper administration of your estate can take place either after your death or in the event you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself before you pass. These papers, properly drawn by an attorney practiced in estate planning let’s you make sure your assets are distributed according to your desires when the time comes.
Of course, your situation and assets may be more complex and require an estate plan with more elements. A local estate planning lawyer here in Bloomington IL will help you understand your options, including, for example, the proper use of a variety of trusts. If some of your assets are owned jointly with another, the attorney will help you sort that out so your wishes are met. All the forms needed will be available and you won’t have to worry about skipping something. The goal is to make sure your needs and wishes are met.
Estate planning is really about you having a say about to whom and how your assets are to be distributed after you die. The value of your assets may be more than you realize. Of course they include the obvious, like your home, any second home, your vehicles, including boats and antique cars. You may own stocks and bonds or perhaps a stamp collection you started in your youth that has acquired way more value than you know about. Properly done, an estate plan will help you know the real worth what you’re leaving behind. It may also protect those assets from loosing significant value to taxes of various sorts. With the help of an attorney who understands the various laws that govern your estate, your plan can often avoid the delay and cost of probate. Estate planning may also significantly reduce the stress your heirs may feel when it comes time to figure out who gets what. You’ve done it for them.
Planning your estate often lets you not only acknowledge your obvious heirs like family members and people who have been truly significant in your life, but means you can also contribute to institutions like an alma mater or an art museum or a zoo or a private school. You probably have more options than you know.
Working with an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington IL can bring you real peace of mind. You’ll be working with a professional who understands estate law so you can be sure the property you worked so hard to acquire goes exactly to the people and institutions of your choice. You’re leaving little to chance which can be a good feeling indeed.
You can find out more at our website or by calling 309-364-6758. When you call you’ll speak to a real person, 24/7.
Estate Planning Lawyer Bloomington IL
The prospect of finding an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington IL doesn’t have to be a daunting one. If you have a clear plan about what you want in your lawyer then the process can be simpler than you think. Just by having a clear plan you can make the process smoother and you won’t be looking for a lawyer for ages if you know what you want already.
However, if you are stuck on how to do that, we have a list on how to get yourself ready to find the right lawyer for your needs. Here are the three main steps that help you streamline the process of finding the right lawyer for you.
- Search for Candidates
This sounds simple and it can be, but if you don’t know how to search then you could be stuck here. The first step is to figure out what you need to accomplish with your estate plan. That information will help you determine the type of lawyer you will need.
In most cases, you will need a generalist who can help you draft up a will, powers of attorney, and basic trusts. However, there are situations that call for lawyers with specializations. If you are concerned about maximizing benefits such as Medicaid or addressing long-term care then you would need someone who specializes in elder law. If you have financial assets overseas then you would need someone who specializes in international estate planning.
Once you know what kind of lawyer you need, you can start to build a list of candidates. Start by asking trusted friends and family. Then ask your place of work. If all else fails, searching online can help you find qualified candidates.
- Interview the Prospects
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to your top candidates it is time to talk to them about an interview. Most lawyers offer a free consultation which is what you should use to start your interview. Treat this like a job interview as they will be working with you to provide a service. You need to come prepared with what you want out of estate planning and a list of questions. Here are some of the questions that you should be asking during your interview:
- How long have you been practicing?
- What is your communication style like?
- How often should I expect communication to be?
- What is the best way to contact you?
- How much of your experience is in estate planning?
- What is your rate?
- Will you send me updates about the status of my plan or should I take initiative?
- Who will be handling the majority of the planning?
Trust your instincts when it comes to finding a lawyer. If you don’t mesh well with them in the interview then move on and find someone that you get along with.
Finding a lawyer doesn’t have to be daunting. If you want to know more about what Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols can do for you when it comes to an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington. IL then don’t hesitate to reach out today.
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