1. Avoid Probate
If you have assets valued at more than $100,000 that are not in trust or other instrument which avoids probate, then in Illinois then your estate will need to go through probate proceedings.
Probate is the process for your estate to pay all its final bills and debts and for the remaining assets to be distributed to your heirs, either according to your will or, if none, according to state law. This is done under the probate court’s supervision. This process takes a minimum of 6 months to complete. There are additional costs for attorneys’ fees and court costs.
2. Make Your Choices Now While You Can
No one knows when they may lose the ability to make their own choices. Whether it be a temporary issue such as being in an accident, or more permanent such as dementia or alzheimers. Making your choices now ensures that issues will be handled the way you’d like them handled, and by the person you choose to handle them for you.
3. Provide for Minor Children
If you don’t create a trust for minor children, then the court will appoint someone to handle the money for them until they turn 18. That guardian of their assets will have to report to the court each year to provide an accounting of how the money is being used.
4. Avoid Lump Sum Payments
Without a trust, when your children turn 18 they will be given a lump sum of their share of the estate assets. Most clients at AMC Legal prefer to spread out the inheritance over time to avoid wasting of the assets.
With a proper estate plan, you can make sure your business winds up in the right hands. Perhaps your spouse doesn’t want to inherit the business, but would rather receive a life insurance benefit and leave the business to a partner or key employee. Without proper planning, the business can be left to someone who doesn’t want it.
6. Minimize Estate Taxes
Yes, the federal estate tax exemption is quite high now, but Illinois has not raised its exemption to match the federal exemption. This means that some estates may be left paying Illinois estate taxes which can be completely avoided with proper planning.
7. Provide for a Special Needs Child
Proper planning is needed for a Special Needs Child who may qualify for state funding. Leaving assets to a Special Needs Child would not only disqualify them from those state funds, but also cause them to have to spend that inheritance down before they would qualify again. Proper planning can ensure that the child will still qualify for state assistance and allow the inheritance to supplement those funds and make sure the child receives the best care for years to come.
Most Americans will need Long Term Care at some point in their lives. Proper planning now can help to preserve your assets for your use during your life and still leave assets for your family when you are gone.
9. Protect Your Loved Ones
A well-done estate plan can protect your beneficiaries from creditors, future divorces, provide for children and grandchildren, and much more. The future is not known to any of this, so planning for family changes in the future is essential.
10. Provide One Last Gift for Your Family
I’ve heard many times, why should I care about any of this, I’ll be dead. And while that may be true, proper estate planning can make sure you are taken care of later in life, as well as provide that one last gift to your family. A well-done estate plan is truly the best way to show your family that you cared enough to plan for them, even when you aren’t with them anymore.
Reach out to attorney Allison Cychosz at AMC Legal, P.C. for a free 1-hour consultation to discuss your Estate Planning needs.
Need Help? Get In Touch.
Dr. Allison Cychosz
AMC Legal, P.C.
Please call for a free consultation
This is not legal advice and you should seek the counsel of an attorney.