Estate Planning Lawyer Barrington, IL
A Barrington, Illinois estate planning lawyer from Bott & Associates, Ltd. can assist you with creating your legacy in a way that reflects your final wishes. In addition to specifying the distribution of your assets and other property, you can express your intentions and wishes for the loved ones you leave behind. Our estate planning lawyer can also help you put safeguards in place should you become incapacitated before passing away. Allow us to assist you and your family with your estate planning needs.
The Importance of Planning Your Estate
Planning one’s estate is not limited to focusing on who will inherit which of your assets. A comprehensive estate plan that is created with the help of an experienced Barrington, IL estate planning lawyer from Bott & Associates, Ltd. will include other important directives as well. For instance, it may include medical treatment instructions should the individual experience a critical health issue that prevents them from making important decisions on their own. An estate planning lawyer can also help you and your heirs avoid paying unnecessary taxes. We will also be there for you when updates to your estate plan are necessary afterlife events that necessitate changes.
The Risks of Not Planning Your Estate
The absence of an estate plan can cause a ripple effect of issues which may range from confusion, stress, and angst amongst heirs to courtroom litigation, and the reality that your final wishes may not be honored. In short, not having an estate plan can be costly for you as well as your loved ones in terms of taxes and the emotional toll. Even close families can enter into turmoil when loved ones are left to only wonder what the deceased wanted for burial plans, asset distribution, and final thoughts. These disagreements have the potential to last forever and splinter families. Our skilled estate planning lawyer can help you and your family members avoid these scenarios by creating a robust estate plan.
Estate Plan Options
When you meet with a Barrington, IL estate planning lawyer from our firm, a review of your circumstances will reveal the optimum choices for planning your estate. You may benefit from creating a revocable or an irrevocable trust as well as a will. There may be tax obligations or savings that can also be addressed for maximum advantages. Depending on your circumstances, your estate plan may take some or all of the following into account:
- The distribution of real property to particular individuals.
- Your checking and savings accounts balances.
- Insurance policy benefits.
- Miscellaneous investments and assets.
- School tuition accounts.
- End-of-life and medical care decisions.
Does it matter how a will is signed?
A will is considered to be the last statement of a person, and one that sets out how they would like their estate to be distributed after they die. After a will has been drafted, it will not be considered legal until it has been signed. As an estate litigation lawyer might explain to you, there is a correct way to sign a will. If it is not signed correctly, it may be considered in valid. If this should happen, a number of issues could arise, and lead you to needing an estate litigation lawyer.
What Makes a Will Valid?
A will may not be considered valid unless it includes the following:
- The will is in writing and is signed by the testator or another person in their presence and by their direction.
- The testator intended, with their signature, to give effect to the will.
- The signature was made in the presence of another witness.
The witness attested to and signed the will or acknowledged the testator’s signature.
If the above was not complied with, the estate may be disputed and/or distributed according to the laws of intestacy.
The Signature Page
Any mark made on the will by the testator could validate it as long as that was the intention. The signature page of the will is considered to be an accurate reflection of how the will should be signed. There are a few scenarios that may hold true and warrant the need for the signature page to be slightly altered.
- If the testator cannot read, the signature page should state that it was read to them.
- If the testator could not sign the will, someone else can do so on behalf of them. This should be stated on the signature page.
- If the testator signs the will, but struggle to do so in a clear way, the page can state that the testator will make a mark, and the mark will act as the signature.
A date is not absolutely necessary; however, an estate litigation lawyer would recommend that it is included. This helps to avoid any doubt regarding whether it is the latest will.
Requirements of a Witness
In general, two witnesses are required during the signing of a will. They should also possess characteristics including:
- The witness should be over 18.
- They cannot be blind.
- They should be traceable.
- They must have a sound understanding of what they are doing.
Witnesses don’t have to be in a specific profession, nor do they need any certifications or qualifications. Many witnesses are a good friend, a neighbor, a work colleague, or family member. It is also possible to have a notary witness or lawyer act as a witness for a will.
Do You Suspect a Wills’ Signature is Fraudulent or Invalid?
If you are currently probating a will, and you believe there is a problem with the signature, consider calling an estate litigation lawyer as quickly as possible.
Can I Cancel a Will?
If you are wondering whether or not a will can be canceled, in short, yes it can be; however, there is a right and a wrong way to go about it. If you would like to cancel a will, you should understand how to do so to ensure your estate can be administered correctly after you die. Generally speaking, you may revoke a will by utilizing one of the following methods:
- Revoking a Will in Writing – If you would like to cancel your will, you can draw a written document that expresses this desire. In general, this method is only done when there is a new will drafted, and included in this new document should be a statement noting the old will has been canceled. An estate planning lawyer in Barrington, IL can ensure this is done properly so there is no confusion or potential of a will challenge.
- Physically Destroying the Will – It is possible to physically destroy the will by tearing, burning, or otherwise ruining the document. In order for this act to be valid, you, the drafter of the will, must intend to cancel it by the physical act.
- Lawful Operation – Under the law, certain occurrences could cause a will to be canceled. These events may include, but are not limited to, marriage, divorce, and the birth of a child.
As an estate planning lawyer Barrington, IL might explain to you, one of the most important elements that must be considered when canceling a will is the actual intention or desire to cancel it. If a will’s creator has not mentioned their wish or intention to revoke the will, and later after their death, it is discovered that a will has been destroyed, there could be grounds for a dispute. In this case, you would likely need to retain an estate planning lawyer Barrington, IL who understands litigation.
Should I Cancel a Will?
There are times that may necessitate a revocation of a will. Examples may include:
- The birth or death of an immediate family member, relative, or friend who may be a named beneficiary or will likely be a named beneficiary.
- Property has been acquired.
- A large amount of money has been acquired.
- A large debt has been acquired.
- There has been a change in marital status.
- There has been a new relocation out of the country.
In general, anyone with a will can revoke it if they believe changes in life will have an effect on provisions. A Barrington, IL estate planning lawyer may tell you that it is often easier to create a new will rather than make amendments to a current one. You may want to consider talking with a lawyer to determine whether you should add an amendment or make a new will. The same advice applies if you are thinking about canceling a current will.
If you are ready to cancel or draft a will, call our estate planning lawyers in Barrington, IL. We will be happy to review your current situation and explain what your best options may be. Give us a call today.
Free Consultation with a Skilled Estate Planning Lawyer in Barrington, IL
To introduce you to your estate planning options, Bott & Associates, Ltd. offers free consultations with a lawyer from our firm to review your circumstances. After this introductory case review, your estate planning lawyer Barrington, IL clients recommend can help you create a lasting legacy. Give us a call today to schedule your no-cost consultation with our estate planning lawyer.
What Does Gifting Mean?
If you have investments and income that put you in the highest tax bracket, it’s worth your while to look into the concept of gifting as it applies to taxes. A Barrington, IL estate planning lawyer can explain in detail how gifting may benefit your estate. In the meantime, here is a brief overview.
Leaving Money in a Will
Most people are familiar with the concept of giving money to their children or family in their will. The drawback of leaving money or property in a will is estate taxes. When your executor divides your estate, taxes must be paid on the gifts that you make before their distribution. For example, if you leave a gift of $50,000 to your son or daughter, there will be a tax taken from your property to pay for that first. Consequently, the overall amount of money that can be distributed to everyone is lowered.
On the other hand, you can provide that same $50,000 to your son or daughter by gifting it to them one year at a time in $15,000 increments tax-free while you are alive. That is the way that gifting works with the IRS, though the particular amount is adjusted each year for inflation. You – and your spouse – are allowed to give unlimited tax-free gifts of $15,000 per year to as many people as you would like. Your son or daughter will not be taxed on the gift they receive. You will not be taxed on the money you give. The only tax that occurs is once your child or loved one gets money, any interest accrued on it then becomes taxable.
Considerations with Gifting
The benefits of gifting include:
- It is tax-free up to $15,000 per year
- The funds are immediately available to the recipient
- Your estate tax will be reduced by whatever amount you gift overall
However, there is always a flipside to any coin. Before you decide whether to use gifting, consider these points:
- Gifting will decrease your current bank account
- You will need to plan and implement the gifting
- You need to trust your children or loved ones to use the money wisely
Estate taxes take some of the money that you want to leave to your family away from them. So using the option of gifting ahead of time allows you to give your friends and family the money you wish them to receive before you have died and without the penalty of taxes. If you are interested in learning more about the possibility of gifting, contact an estate planning lawyer Barrington, IL families trust from Bott & Associates, Ltd. today to find out more about this choice.