Hinsdale, IL Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning Made Easy by Hinsdale Estate Attorneys

Establishing a plan for your estate for after your death is important, and stressful. The Hinsdale estate planning attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. can guide you through this process. Avoiding discussions about death is common, but estate planning is critical in order to ensure your family is cared for and your plans are followed.

Hinsdale estate planning attorneys can develop legally sound estate plans by:

  • Explaining the documents that comprise a complete estate plan
  • Determining the appropriate actions for you and your family’s specific needs, goals, and wishes
  • Drawing up legally sound documents that stand up to challenge
  • Identifying tax minimization strategies to protect your heirs’ inheritance
  • Creating documents that outline your wishes, should you become incapacitated and are not able to communicate, including any life-extending measures and medical treatment decisions.

The Hinsdale estate attorneys at Wolfe & Stec will address all of your concerns and ensure that your interests and those of your beneficiaries are well protected. Contact us today at (630) 305-0222 for a free consultation.

Your Estate Lawyer in Hinsdale Drafts All Required Documents

Basic Estate Planning Documents

Essential documents are needed to communicate, in advance, what you want done with your assets, as well as your end-of-life wishes should you become incapacitated. Upfront planning ensures that all of your property will be distributed promptly and according to your explicit wishes.

If you die without a will or trust in place, your assets will be divided according to Illinois intestacy laws, regardless of what you may have wanted. This generally means:

  • If you are married and have children, your spouse gets at least half of your estate with your children splitting the remainder.
  • If you are single with no children, your estate will be divided among your nearest living relatives.
  • If you have no living relatives, your property goes to the state.

Clearly, the division of assets stated above may be different from what you would wish. Perhaps you want to provide supplemental care for a disabled loved one. Maybe you feel it is necessary to disinherit a child. In order to do this, specific forms and documentation are required to ensure that your wishes are carried out. These include:

  • A will or trust. These are the documents that appoint a representative, called an executor, to oversee the distribution of your assets based on your stated wishes.
  • A living will or end-of-life wishes declaration. This document communicates, in writing, information regarding critical medical care including the situations in which you would want to be resuscitated and whether you want extraordinary efforts taken to keep you alive.
  • A durable power of attorney for health care. This is used to appoint a trusted person to make health care decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to make them for yourself. This document goes further than a living will and may be used together with one.
  • A durable power of attorney for finances. If you become unable to make financial decisions, the individual identified in this document will be empowered to make them for you.

In order to be legal, and enforceable, these documents must be prepared in accordance with Indiana law. In fact, some require witnesses and notarized signatures. Being prepared for any and all situations is responsible. Make sure your wishes are known and communicated appropriately. At Wolf & Stec our estate planning lawyers in Hinsdale will work with you, provide advice and counsel, and handle of your estate planning matters .

Call us today at (630) 305-0222 to begin.

Our Estate Planning Lawyers in Hinsdale Help Determine If You Need a Trust

Understanding Probate and How Trusts Can Benefit Your Heirs

Probate, an expensive and time consuming legal process in Illinois, is a court proceeding where your executor is provided authority to pay your debs and transfer your assets. Often, it should often be avoided. Creating a trust can help.

The trust will designate an individual, the trustee, to hold legal title to property for your beneficiaries and avoids the probate process. However, a trust is NOT appropriate for everyone. For example, heirs of people with no real estate and an estate valued under $100,000 are allowed by Illinois state statutes to file a small-estate affidavit to claim an estate without probate.

If your circumstances warrant a trust, you have two options:

  • Living Trust: Created while you are still alive, a living trust allows you to designate yourself as the trustee. Thus, you maintain control over all property held in the trust, which your beneficiaries will ultimately inherit. Recognize though, a will is still necessary to both identify heirs and to provide for any property outside of your trust.
  • Irrevocable trust – Created to achieve specific goals, including reducing taxes, these trusts require relinquishing ownership and control of trust property. They cannot be revoked or changed after they are signed.

Have Questions? Our Hinsdale Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help

Needless to say, there are a number of frequently asked questions and concerns surrounding estate planning. Our Hinsdale estate planning attorneys are experienced in providing the answers.

Do I Need Attorney to Draft My Will or Trust?

Quite simply, it is a wise decision to work with an estate planning attorney.

While it is possible to write your own will, Illinois estate laws are complex. If your documents don’t comply with them, your will or trust will be open to challenges and litigation.

With legal assistance from Wolfe & Stec, you can be assured that your documents are legally correct and that your intentions are clearly communicated. Your assets and property will be inherited by those whom you intend.

If Someone Challenges a Will or Trust, What Happens?

If someone contests your will or trust and is successful, your final wishes will not be carried out as you had intended. The most common reasons that wills and trusts can be contested include:

  • Mental capacity – someone raises the issue of your competence (were you of sound mind and body) when your documents were prepared.
  • Undue influence – This issue is discussed when it is expected that you may have been coerced into making specific decisions.
  • Breach of fiduciary duty – Occurring when the actions by the estate executor are improper, an example is if he or she steals or mishandles assets that should have been distributed to your heirs.
  • Execution or interpretation – when documents have not been signed or witnessed legally or the terms and instructions have not been interpreted correctly.
  • Fraud or forgery – when someone else illegally signs your name to your documents.

Can I Make Changes after I Sign My Documents?

In most cases the answer is yes. Something we all know to be true is that in life things rarely stay the same. Should you have change of life event, including the birth of a child, the end of a marriage or even the death of a primary beneficiary — your estate plan must be updated to reflect the situation. You may need to name new beneficiaries or even identify a new executor. Failure to do so may result in your assets being distributed in ways you do not want, including to your ex-spouse.

When Should a Guardian Be Appointed?

A guardian may be appointed by the court in specific instances. For example, if you become incapacitated and haven’t identified anyone to undertake responsibility in your durable power of attorney. Guardians are responsible for managing and making decisions regarding your healthcare, finances, and living arrangements, among other issues. Naming a guardian in the durable powers of attorney we prepare for you allow you to designate the trusted individuals you want to undertake this responsibility on your behalf.

Hinsdale Estate Attorneys Help You Prepare for the Future

Your family’s future is something to be taken seriously. Advanced planning, including the preparation of important estate planning documents is vital to ensuring your wishes will be carried out. Enlist the skills of a Hinsdale estate planning attorney from Wolfe & Stec to manage the coordination of your estate planning needs. We have extensive experience and can ensure that your documents are legally sound. You want to avoid situations where you don’t have control of your end-of-life decisions or who gets your hard-earned assets and property.

Our Hinsdale estate planning attorneys will draft documents on your behalf and will ensure that the intent of your will, trust or other document is clear and preserved to prevent any challenges or problems. Call Wolfe & Stec today to schedule a free consultation at (630) 305-0222. We are committed to helping our clients prepare for the future look forward to helping you protect your estate and your family’s future.

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 ]

Woodridge Illinois Law Firm

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

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