Planning your Estate
When people first start writing an estate plan, they feel emotional at the idea of what life may be like for their loved ones after they have passed on. It can be challenging to think of a time when you are no longer here to be with those you cherish the most. Many people establish an estate plan to see that their loved ones are taken care of and they receive a portion of their legacy after death.
A trust may go through litigation in probate after a family member passes away for a variety of reasons. At Bott & Associates, Ltd., it’s our goal to make sure our clients understand the process of trust litigation and why it can occur.
What is So Important About Establishing an Estate Plan?
It is often wrongfully assumed that after a person passes away, loved ones will receive a fair portion of the deceased’s assets, as a estate law lawyer in Rolling Meadows, Illinois knows all too well. While this may be true to some extent, a person gives up a big chunk of his or her rights by not setting up an official estate plan. If you do not write an estate plan, then your assets may be handled by the court system based on state laws instead. It is important to establish such a document to help prevent disputes, reduce stress for surviving family, and decrease estate taxes.
Not many people think about creating an estate plan, especially because they may become emotionally upset thinking about leaving their loved ones behind. But here, we have answered questions to emphasize why this plan is so important:
Q: What should be the focus of my estate plan?
A: The overall idea for an estate plan is to think about your ideal situation for who gets what after you are deceased. Consider how you would want your assets to be distributed among those you care for deeply. If you have children and pets, evaluate who you would trust to take care of them in case you were to pass on unexpectedly. In your estate plan, you may want to list someone as a will executor to manage and protect your assets. This person is ideally someone you trust to act based on your exact wishes, and only has your best of interest at heart.
Q: What is a will and what does it include?
A: As a estate law lawyer in Rolling Meadows, IL can explain, a will is a document which includes directions on who and how your property will be handled after passing away. A will often lists names of those you chose as will executor, beneficiaries, and who will take care of your dependents. After death, your will is filed to the court and may potentially go through probate, which just means the authenticity of the will is determined.
Q: What happens if someone passes away without creating a will?
A: If someone dies without a will, then the state laws shall go into effect. The court system then decides who receives your assets by default, which is usually your children, spouse or other family members. The downside to not having a will created at the time of passing is that the court may just make their best judgement on how assets should be divided up, but this may not reflect your true preferences.
Q: What is asset protection planning?
A: A great way to take proactive legal action to safeguard assets from judgements, lawsuits, seizure, and creditors is to implement asset protection. A estate law lawyer in Rolling Meadows, IL can help you utilize several legal techniques to help ward off potential problems with your assets after passing on. Those who are writing their first estate plan ever, may want to meet with a Rolling Meadows, IL estate law lawyer for guidance and advice. A lawyer can oversee the process and make suggestions on how to create a legally-binding estate plan.
Why would a beneficiary contest their loved one’s trust in probate court?
A beneficiary may file for trust litigation for several reasons. They may request to dispute the trust either because they are not happy with what they received or because they’re concerned about how their loved one’s assets are being handled. More reasons why trust litigation may occur are listed as follows:
- The successor trustee has not fulfilled his or her duties regarding the trust
- The successor trustee has used the loved one’s assets for personal gain
- The successor trustee has shown favoritism between beneficiaries
- The successor trustee has not distributed assets correctly as stated in the loved one’s trust
- The beneficiary is concerned that their loved one was not of sound mind when creating the trust
- The beneficiary is concerned that coercion may have been in factor in what was written in their loved one’s trust
What qualities should the successor trustee have?
The successor trustee does not have to be an attorney or banker to do a great job at distributing the loved one’s assets as described in the trust. However, the successor trustee must be trustworthy, reliable, flexible and not afraid to ask for help from an estate law lawyer in Rolling Meadows, IL.
Should I talk with my successor trustee before finalizing my estate plan?
When creating your estate plan, consider talking with your appointed successor trustee first before finalizing their name. They may or may feel confident to perform this role after you have passed on. You can also choose a secondary trustee in Rolling Meadows, IL, just in case the first is unable or unwilling to manage your assets.
What can I do to help prevent my trust from going to litigation in probate?
It can be very difficult to completely eliminate the chances of your trust eventually going through litigation after passing on. You may not be able to please everyone and someone may come forward with a complaint no matter what. But one thing you can do to help decrease the chances of trust litigation is to make your instructions clear and concise. If your described wishes are confusing or too broad, this may leave room for your beneficiaries to argue over what they think your statements mean.
Contact Bott & Associates, Ltd.
At Bott & Associates, Ltd., we’re dedicated to serving families in our community and helping them cope with some of the most difficult parts of life. We understand how important it is to have an estate law lawyer Rolling Meadows, IL residents trust during tough times. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, please call our firm today.