Estate Planning Lawyer Bloomington IL
Drafting Estate Plans for Decades
When you decide it is the right time to create an estate plan, speak with an estate planning lawyer in Bloomington, Illinois. 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. A Bloomington, IL estate planning lawyer can help you determine what the correct plan is for you to make sure that your wishes are carried out.
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 Illinois estate planning lawyers at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols take time to understand your unique situation. Together we will decide which instrument best serves your needs and the needs of your beneficiaries and charitable organizations.
There are many ways to dispose of your property through the use of wills and trusts. We will talk you through the advantages and disadvantages of every option available to you. We will 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
Why You Need an Estate Plan
Estate planning is not just for wealthy individuals or those with significant assets to give to their heirs after they pass. No matter what your age or financial status, having a succinct estate plan in place before you need it is crucial to ensuring your affairs are in order and your assets are not pillaged by taxes and probate. Even if you do not have much to pass down, having a solid estate plan can help keep what you have intact while making the financial part of your passing less expensive and much less stressful for your loved ones. Here are some additional reasons to consider planning your estate now.
Give Your Assets to the Right People
If you die without a will or trust of any sort, the state determines who will acquire your assets. An estate planning lawyer Bloomington, IL residents rely on knows this is not usually the way people would like their assets distributed, which is why it is so important to have a plan early on. To be sure the state will not be giving your finances and belongings away to the wrong people:
- Execute a valid will
- Create a living revocable trust and transfer all large assets to it
- Own large assets jointly, such as with your spouse
- Include transfer-on-death forms or other beneficiary designation for bank accounts or assets with a title
Probate can be a costly and time-consuming process. Your family must sit through this process, waiting for assets to be distributed and then everything that occurs during the process is put into the public record. The estate will likely lose at least 10%, for paying the will executor and the lawyers needed to complete the court proceedings. This doesn’t include any outstanding debts that must also be paid.
To avoid this process altogether, as mentioned above, you can set up all your bank accounts or large titled assets with a transfer-on-death certificate or name a beneficiary. Any assets which are held jointly will go directly to your spouse. As well, establishing a living trust will take anything you put into the trust while you’re alive out of your name. Then you can write directions within the trust for how you want those items distributed later.
Assign Roles to Trusted People
Both wills and trusts need an assigned person to take care of your estate after you pass. A will requires an executor and a trust should have a trustee to distribute items based on your instructions in each document.
When minor children are involved, it is essential to name guardians in these documents, in the case there isn’t a surviving spouse, so you can have peace of mind that your children will be left in good hands in the worst-case scenario.
Speak with a Bloomington, Illinois estate planning lawyer from Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols to ensure your estate is planned in the most beneficial way for your particular situation and that all the paperwork is done correctly so the courts accept them as valid.
FAQ: Estate Planning
Regardless of whether you already have an estate plan in place or not, chances are that you have questions about aspects of the estate planning process. As your needs, priorities, and life circumstances evolve, working with an estate planning lawyer Bloomington, IL trusts can help to ensure that your questions are answered and your concerns are addressed as quickly as possible. The knowledgeable legal team at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols is always here to help.
Do I need any estate planning documents other than a will?
One of the reasons why it is so important to connect with an experienced Bloomington estate planning lawyer is that the estate planning process is an involved one. In addition to executing (and continually updating, as necessary) a will or revocable living trust, you’ll need a power of attorney designation, digital estate plan, and advanced healthcare directive in place – at minimum – at all times. Connecting with our firm will allow you to explore your estate planning options and better ensure that all documentation necessary for your unique situation has been enforceably executed.
How often does my will need to be updated?
A will is a living document. This means that it can (and should) be updated as often as necessary, in order to reflect the changing nature of the creator’s wishes and preferences. If you don’t update your will after your preferences have shifted or major life events have led to the desire to include or exclude someone from your will, the court won’t be able to read your mind. Therefore, you’ll risk having your assets transferred in ways that you don’t prefer as a result of the outdated text of your estate plan.
What happens if I die without a will in place?
If you pass away without a will in place, your assets will be distributed according to the laws of your state. If you’re like most people, you’re uninterested in having the government dictate many areas of your life. Don’t allow the government to dictate how your assets are distributed after you die. Create a legally-enforceable estate plan instead.
What is a digital estate plan?
A digital estate plan will allow you to influence the management of your online footprint when you’re no longer in a position to control it. Take a minute to think about how many password protected accounts you log into every day. Who do you want to access these accounts after you die? How would you like them managed? How would you like any assets contained within them distributed? A digital estate plan directly addresses these concerns.
Do I need an estate plan if I’m young and don’t own much property?
Every legally competent adult in the U.S. needs an estate plan in place, regardless of how much property they own and regardless of whether they are a parent or not. Even if you have no property (valuable, sentimental, or otherwise) to speak of, if you’ve reached the age of 18, you need an advance healthcare directive, a power of attorney designation, and a digital estate plan (at minimum) in place at all times. A reputable Bloomington estate planning lawyer at Pioletti Pioletti & Nichols can help you to meet these important goals.