Be Prepared for Anything: The Power of an Estate Planning Attorney
Not infrequently, someone dies unexpectedly and leaves no will or estate plan. State intestacy laws decide what happens to the estate in these situations. The most effective strategy for avoiding this is having an estate plan, but 55% of the American population dies without a will or estate plan. These situations create issues about who controls what assets, frequently involving the courts.
Estate planning is arranging how your properties, assets, and financial affairs will be handled and distributed after you are gone. It creates a detailed plan specifying what assets are distributed, who makes important decisions, and who cares for loved ones. Estate planning includes the creation of trusts, wills, health care directives, and powers of attorney. The plan ensures your wishes are respected and the estate is managed correctly.
A skilled estate planning attorney is necessary to help you prepare and implement your strategy. Here are some specifics on what an estate planning attorney does and why you should be working with one.
What does an estate planning attorney do?
An estate planning attorney is a legal professional who helps families by creating the documents which provide indispensable guidance and security in the event a family member dies or becomes incapacitated. This could include the following:
Creating a will
An estate planning attorney helps you to draft a legally binding will specifying how your assets should be distributed. This ensures that the will conforms to state law and reflects your wishes.
Establishing a trust
A skilled attorney will help you to establish a trust that protects your estate against legal claims and taxes. You can choose from different types of trusts, including irrevocable, living, special needs, and charitable trusts. Trusts avoid probate and are an effective avenue for protecting your assets.
A skilled estate planning attorney will protect your assets against lawsuits from creditors and ensure that they are passed on to the beneficiaries.
An estate planning attorney offers guidance to maximize the estate’s value for your heirs. We evaluate your situation and create strategies to reduce taxes and liabilities, such as leveraging exemptions and gifting.
Business succession planning: An estate planning attorney can help you create a business succession plan, detailing your goals for the assets and how they will be used.
We recommend speaking with a skilled attorney about your estate plan. The attorneys at Wolfe & Stec have decades of experience working on estates of all sizes. Our team of professionals gives you objective advice and guides you through creating and implementing your estate plan.
How to choose an estate planning attorney in Illinois?
Choosing an estate planning attorney requires carefully considering several different factors. These will help you find a qualified professional to address your needs. Here are some things you want to consider when searching for an estate planning attorney.
The first thing you want to do is research different estate planning attorneys in the area. Review their track records, website, and client testimonials. We recommend taking your time and asking questions to ensure you make a prudent decision.
Next, schedule a consultation with potential estate planning attorneys. Consider this an opportunity to see if you are a good match and discuss other areas, including their fee structure.
Check disciplinary records and credentials
After the consultation, you may want to contact the Illinois State Bar Association and verify their credentials and disciplinary history. Attorneys are fiduciaries; you must ensure there have been no conflicts or concerns about past events.
When do you need an estate planning attorney in Illinois?
Estate planning laws are complex, and you need a skilled attorney in Illinois to guide you. There are a variety of situations in which an estate planning attorney can be of assistance.
Updating or creating a will
An estate planning attorney can help you draft a new will, ensuring that it complies with Illinois state laws and adequately protects your loved ones. You should have existing wills reviewed periodically, to update them in accordance with possible changes in your circumstances.
Trusts are designed to manage and protect your assets, minimizing taxes and risks. A skilled attorney helps you to establish and run a trust that honors your wishes and with various safeguards.
Designation of heirs and beneficiaries
An estate planning attorney can help you to consider who will receive various assets such as investment accounts, life insurance, retirement plans, real estate, and bank accounts. They will ensure that such designations are properly documented.
Business succession planning
If you are a business owner, an attorney will help you with business succession planning to detail how your business will be transferred on disability, death, or retirement. This requires knowledge of trusts, buy-sell agreements, and other tools to ensure an easy transition.
Preparing for incapacity
Estate planning considers the possibility that you or a loved one might become incapacitated. A skilled attorney helps you to create documents such as powers of attorney and living wills. These specify who controls your finances, health, and end-of-life decisions.
There are a number of unique situations in which you may need a skilled attorney to guide you. These range from caring for a disabled family member to owning property in different states or another country. A qualified estate planning attorney will help to create an effective strategy that protects you and respects your wishes.
Estate planning is complex, and you need a skilled attorney to advise and guide you. Illinois has numerous laws; navigating them takes someone with knowledge and experience working with estates of all sizes. Our team of professionals has decades of experience that we put to work for you with your estate plan. Take charge of your future by speaking with a qualified attorney with Wolfe & Stec. Everything we discuss is confidential, and you will get practical advice you can use.