Woodridge Estate Planning Attorney

Are you confident your wishes will be carried out upon your death? While not a pleasant subject, this question is important to answer. You must act now to ensure that your family is cared for and that you control what happens to your estate. In addition, you should have plans that state your wishes if you become incapacitated and cannot communicate what medical treatments you do or do not want.

If you die without a valid will or trust, your assets will be divided in keeping with the state’s “intestacy laws.” In Illinois, this usually means your spouse gets at least half, and your children split the remainder. Otherwise, your estate is divided among your nearest living relatives. In those cases where no living relatives exist, the state will take your property.

The experienced and compassionate Woodridge estate planning attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. always focus on our client’s needs and feelings and understand that every client’s personal, family, and economic situations are unique.

The Estate Planning Documents You Need in Illinois

Your Woodridge estate planning lawyer can work with you to identify exactly what documents you need. In Illinois, the following documents are important:

  • Will: This is an estate planning tool in which you determine the distribution of your assets, arrange for the repayment of debts, and identify the individual who will care for your minor children, if any. It also names your executor.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances: This is an important document as it identifies an individual to care for your finances if you become incapacitated and cannot make financial decisions. The person or persons you select can buy and sell property, invest your money, and pay your bills.
  • Living Will (also known in Illinois as a Declaration): This spells out your end-of-life wishes, including whether you want your life prolonged artificially in the event of a terminal illness or permanently unconscious condition. When you address these issues while you can, your family does not have to make difficult decisions later.
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care: In this document, you identify someone to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to make health care decisions. This document goes further than a living will and may be used in conjunction with one.

Additionally, you may wish to consider preparing a living trust (a trust you create while you are alive) or other methods to avoid probate. Probate is a court proceeding that gives your executor authority to pay your bills and transfer your assets, but it can be expensive and time-consuming.

Illinois does not use the Uniform Probate Code to simplify the probate process, so a living trust avoids Illinois’s complex probate process. However, if your estate is under $100,000 and does not include real estate, state statutes allow your heirs to file a small estate affidavit to claim your estate without probate.

Determining Whether You Need a Trust

In some cases, it is wise to create a trust, which designates a person (a “trustee”) to hold legal title to the property for another person (the “beneficiary”). There are two types of trusts — living and irrevocable.

Just as it sounds, a living trust is created while you are alive. In most cases, you are named the trustee and retain control over all property held in the trust. When you die, the beneficiaries named in your will inherit the property.

A living trust does not replace a will. You still need a will. Your will provides a backup plan for any property not in your trust. It also allows you to name someone to inherit property not part of your trust.

On the other hand, irrevocable trusts require giving up ownership and control of trust property and cannot be revoked or changed after they are signed. They are used to achieve specific goals, like reducing taxes.

Finally, you may also name a trust as a beneficiary for some accounts, such as 401k, pension, IRA, Roth IRA, and insurance.

We Can Help in Cases of Estate Litigation

When someone challenges a will or estate plan because they feel they were not treated fairly, they may file a lawsuit called estate litigation. This situation is often unpleasant and stressful; cases may drag on, become contentious, and drain the estate of funds.

Reasons for challenges may include:

  • Mental capacity questions: challenges over whether a deceased person was of sound mind when signing their will.
  • Undue influence: when it is believed that beneficiaries have coerced the deceased into signing it or making changes to it.
  • Fraud: for situations where estate documents were forged or modified without the deceased’s knowledge.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty: when the estate executor acts improperly, such as by stealing or mishandling assets.
  • Execution or interpretation: when documents have not been signed or witnessed properly, or the terms and instructions have not been interpreted correctly.

Our Experience and Approach Are Unmatched

Our team has decades of experience helping individuals and families in Illinois plan for their future. When you choose our Woodbridge estate planning lawyer, you can rest assured that we will have the following:

  • Extensive Experience: Illinois estate laws are complicated, and information about wills can be found in this Article on the Illinois State Statutes. We understand the ins and outs of the laws and can draft documents that accurately express your wishes and are legally binding.
  • Personal Approach: We know that each individual or family lives a unique life and has specific wants and needs. Our team takes the time to meet with you, actively listen to what you want, and ask important questions. Our documents are not cookie-cutter; each is prepared for a specific client and accurately depicts their wishes.
  • Proven Reputation: Our documents are created to abide by all state laws and to stand up to any challenge in court. Additionally, we obtain many of our estate planning clients through word of mouth. Our past clients share our name with their family and friends.

Contact Our Estate Planning Attorneys in Woodbridge Today

A will is nothing more than a piece of paper if not correctly drafted, so seeking a lawyer’s advice is critical. The seasoned estate attorneys at Wolfe & Stec handle all Illinois estate planning cases with sensitivity, respect, and discretion.

Take no chances — plan your estate correctly. Call Wolfe & Stec today for your free consultation at 630-305-0222, or contact our team online.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]

Woodridge Illinois Law Firm

3321 Hobson Road, Suite B
Woodridge, IL 60517
Phone: 630-305-0222

Contact Us