Estate Planning Lawyer in Palatine IL
It’s summertime! Because many people did not go on vacation in 2020, the airports and hotels are booming again with tourists and visitors. I read an article that the mayor of Maui is asking the airlines to reduce the number of flights coming into Maui because the island cannot support the number of tourists that are currently arriving. Whether you are going to the beach, to the mountains, overseas or just your local city or town, it’s very important to plan ahead. We spend an inordinate amount of time planning our vacations, researching the location, finding the right hotel or Airbnb, figuring out the activities that are available, and seeking out the best places to eat. That is part of the fun of a vacation, planning it all. But how about taking some extra time to do a different type of planning? How about doing your estate plan before heading to the airport?
We often have clients who give us a deadline that they are about to go on vacation in two weeks. Can we get a Will done by then? My answer is always, it depends. Yes, we can certainly prepare documents in an expedited manner, but it depends on how complicated your estate plan is, and how busy our office is with other clients.
Why is it so important to plan in all cases? Well, my heart goes out to the families who are suffering due to the Surfside Condo tragedy. I was watching the news daily and was just so sad for the families being interviewed. Some clients tell me that the “catastrophic event” of all family members dying at the same time would never happen. The Surfside event unfortunately brings this sad possibility to light. Of course, we pray that our families will be ok. Of course, we take every precaution to not have this happen to our family. But none of us have the crystal ball. We are not in charge.
Not too long ago my friend from high school texted me… “did you hear about so and so?” I was like no, what happened? It turns out that a girl we knew from high school, and her family were in the news. They were on vacation, and an unforeseeable Act of God occurred, and the whole family died. I knew the girl in grade school and Junior High. I even looked back at my old photo albums and she was at my house for a slumber party when I turned 12 years old. As you can imagine, the news struck me to the core. I may not have been close to her in recent years, but the photos of her beautiful family being shown on TV haunted me for days.
You may have thought about getting a Will done sometime soon. You may have thought about it when boarding a plane, or when you prepare your New Year’s resolutions, or when you sit down with your financial planner, or when you talk to your parents about their own plans. It’s always – I’ll do it next month, or next year, or whenever. We don’t know if we will be here next month or next year. Why not do it now, and have the peace of mind that it’s done?
Top Five Reasons to Plan Ahead:
- Avoid probate, during your lifetime and when you pass away. Do you want the court controlling you or your assets? Probate proceedings are public, expensive, time-consuming and should be avoided whenever possible. Leave your money to your heirs quickly, privately and efficiently by establishing a proper estate plan.
- Protect children from a prior marriage if you pass away first. Second marriage planning can be complex and tricky. Expert legal guidance is needed to ensure your assets are preserved and your children of your first marriage will receive the proper share of their inheritance.
- Protect assets inherited by your heirs from lawsuits, divorces and other claims. Make sure your assets are inherited by your loved ones, not the people you don’t want to receive them, such as their ex-spouses, in-laws, creditors or the IRS.
- Ensure that a specific portion of your estate actually gets to grandchildren, charities, etc. Without planning, the state will decide who inherits your assets… NOT YOU! Planning your estate ensures your intentions and directions are followed.
- Protect a portion of your estate if you pass away first and your surviving spouse remarries. Special Trusts can be set up to protect your current surviving spouse and insure that your assets don’t end up in the wrong hands. Take action now to protect your family.