Will County Estate Planning Attorneys

Will County, Illinois Probate and Estate Planning Lawyers

Estate planning is the process individuals undergo to ensure proper legal protections for their financial resources and their families. A skilled Will County estate planning attorney can help anyone looking to set up an estate plan determine which assets they should secure.

Will County Estate Planning Attorneys

What Is the Role of Estate Planning Attorneys?

An Illinois estate planning attorney can help clients ensure that their wishes are carried out in the event of their death or incapacitation. Some of the tasks they assist with include the following.

  • Setting up and overseeing meetings between their client and insurance agents, investment advisors, accountants, and other professionals
  • Handling the titling of assets involved in the planning process, according to property records
  • Identifying any potential issues with their clients’ estate plan and counseling them on potential alternatives to achieve their goals
  • Advising clients on matters such as healthcare directives and selection of guardians for minor children, executors, trustees, and durable powers of attorney
  • Counseling clients on end-of-life decisions regarding disposition of remains, organ donation, and financial and medical directives
  • Assisting with marital settlements after divorce, marital property agreements, and pre- and post-nuptial agreements as they affect the estate plan
  • Creating or terminating business entities
  • Handling unique family requirements involving beneficiaries with special educational requirements and needs
  • Helping clients with decisions on donating assets to philanthropic organizations
  • Drafting all estate planning documents
  • Continued assistance after the estate plan creation to title beneficiaries on retirement plans and insurance policies and to move assets to trusts
  • Counseling clients on where and how to store estate planning documents and how frequently to review and update them
  • Assisting clients with filing appropriate tax returns, and matters such as updating organizational documents for business entities

What Legal Documents Are Necessary for Estate Planning?

Although every estate plan is unique to the individual, the four estate planning documents are essential to most comprehensive plans.

The Will

A will is a document that distributes an individual’s assets by stating who will assume ownership of them after the person passes away. It is essential to have a will in place, as the failure to do so means assets are distributed according to the intestacy laws of the state where the individual resides. By creating a will, the individual is able to dictate their wishes for the distribution of their assets to charities, friends, and family members.

When a will is written, the individual names an executor to ensure their wishes are carried out as they would want. It is especially important to have a will when minor children are in the family, as the individual can name a guardian for them.

It is vital to recognize that some assets cannot be included in a will, including:

  • Those held in joint title
  • Property held in a living trust
  • Life insurance proceeds

Power of Attorney

Estate planning lawyers can assist an individual with creating this document to authorize a person to manage their finances if they are unable to. The power of attorney can be set up to only become active once the individual is incapacitated. However, some individuals wish to have it effective immediately as a matter of convenience. This would be important for those who expect to be traveling and may be unable to handle these matters on their own.

This document allows the individual to specify which transactions and financial matters they wish to authorize. It is also important to note that a financial power of attorney is only effective when the individual is alive. It does not give anyone the authority to make medical decisions for them.

Advance Care Directives

Will County attorneys can help their clients set up these documents to manage their health by stating their medical and end-of-life care wishes. This is important, as the individual may not be able to make such decisions on their own. The documents allow them to dictate exactly what they want in terms of feeding tubes, ventilator use, and other life-prolonging medical procedures. Some individuals refer to these directives as a “living will.”

The state of Illinois allows individuals to create a medical power of attorney, which names a person who can make healthcare decisions for the individual if they are unable to. In other states, the individual can name this person in their advance care directive.

Living Trust

This estate planning measure allows the individual to place their assets under the ownership of a trust while they are alive. During the individual’s lifetime, the trust owns and manages the assets, but upon their death, a person the individual has named as “trustee” distributes the assets to the named beneficiaries. This can save the family time and money, as the estate can avoid probate court. It instead allows the assets to be distributed immediately upon the individual’s death according to their wishes.

Individuals also have the option of setting up a revocable living trust, which allows them to make changes during their lifetime. In most cases, this type of trust doesn’t allow the family to avoid estate taxes, as the state and federal government have established estate tax exemptions that the assets must meet. It is important to note that a living trust does allow individuals to use their assets as they wish during their lifetime.

What Is the Difference Between an Estate Planning Lawyer and a Probate Attorney?

The best way to distinguish an estate planning attorney from a probate lawyer is to look at them in terms of “before and after.” An individual hires an estate planning lawyer while they are alive to establish a plan for the distribution of their assets upon their death. On the other hand, a probate attorney is hired after an individual’s death to help the family with matters such as validating and administering a will. These legal professionals handle matters in probate court after a person has died.

Trust an Experienced Will County Legal Team

If you wish to plan for your medical wishes and distribution of assets, it is crucial to have an experienced attorney on your side. The legal professionals at Vahey & Betouni Law & Mediation have the experience and compassion clients are looking for when they make these arrangements. Visit our website today to see how we can help you.


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