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Recent Blog Posts

Do Teachers Need an Estate Plan?

 Posted on July 12, 2024 in Estate Planning

IL estate lawyerLike other public servants, teachers work incredibly hard to deliver an essential service to society. Without teachers, none of us would even be able to read this blog. Nevertheless, problems with low teacher salaries and retirement benefits doggedly persist, leaving many educators wondering how they can pass financial stability forward to their families after they pass away.

If you are reading this, perhaps you are a teacher with questions about your own future. Or perhaps you are the son or daughter of a teacher, and you are wondering what you can do to help your parents set up their estate plan. In this blog, we will try to answer some of the most common questions about teachers, pensions, investments, and estate plans. For answers to your specific situation, give our Illinois estate planning attorneys a call.

Should a Teacher Have a Will or a Trust? 

Many educators assume that since their pensions or defined contribution funds have death benefits, it does not make sense for them to write a will or set up a trust. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just like everyone else, educators deserve to have their final wishes expressed and protected in estate planning documents.

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How a Trust Protects Generational Wealth

 Posted on June 27, 2024 in Asset Protection & Wealth Preservation

IL estate lawyerIf you have family wealth to preserve for future generations, you need a trust. Trusts are far more protective of generational wealth than a will. If you use a will, your only option would be to have each of your children claim their entire inheritance immediately. A trust can preserve the wealth over a long period of time and allow your estate to continue growing in value long after your death. You may want to create multiple types of trusts to serve different purposes. A Yorkville, IL trusts and estates attorney can help you design the right estate plan to preserve your generational wealth for decades to come.

How a Long-Term Trust Preserves Wealth for Future Generations

A few of the ways a trust can protect generational wealth include:

  • Building trust principal - Your trust principal can continue growing if you direct your trustee to continue investing the funds contained within your trust. For this to work, you must choose a financially savvy and responsible trustee who is capable of making sound investments. You may want to consider choosing a professional trustee. 

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How Land Trusts and Series LLCs Work Together

 Posted on June 13, 2024 in Asset Protection & Wealth Preservation

IL estate lawyerReal estate investors would be wise to take steps to limit their liability and protect each individual investment property. There are real risks associated with real estate investing, no matter how cautiously you plan your projects and how carefully you select the properties you buy. A single high-dollar lawsuit can collapse a budding real estate empire in the absence of proper legal structuring. One way to limit your risk is to create a series LLC in conjunction with a series of land trusts. Structuring these entities properly can be legally complex, so you must work with an experienced Yorkville, IL real estate investments attorney.

Asset Protection Through a Series LLC

A series LLC is a type of limited liability corporation that can hold numerous subsidiary companies under the same corporate umbrella. This structure offers the convenience of managing a single LLC rather than creating numerous corporate entities. Each time you invest in a new real estate project, you would open a new series. Creating a series LLC can allow you to keep different real estate projects separate so that if one becomes financially compromised by a lawsuit or other liabilities, the rest are not affected. So, if Series A is sued, assets contained in Series B and C are safe from liability.

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Bond in Lieu of Probate and Real Estate Closings

 Posted on May 21, 2024 in Real Estate Legacy Planning

IL probate lawyerProbate is best avoided if at all possible. The taxes and court costs that come with putting an estate through probate can significantly diminish the estate’s assets, leaving the beneficiaries with much less than the decedent intended. Even when there is a will controlling who should receive what, there is a substantial risk that probate fees will force beneficiaries to sell property - including real estate - that they should have been able to keep in order to cover estate taxes. One way to keep your real estate properties out of probate is to use a bond in lieu of probate. If you plan to use this legal strategy, it is best to prepare for using a bond in lieu of probate when you close on the property. A Yorkville, IL real estate transactions and estate planning lawyer can help you prepare.

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Minimizing Power of Attorney Risks: Adult Children as Trustees

 Posted on May 07, 2024 in Estate Planning

Blog ImageA comprehensive estate plan should involve both a trust and powers of attorney. Powers of attorney and trusts both have a legal impact during your lifetime. When you create a trust and transfer property into the trust, the trust as an entity becomes the owner of all property placed in it. Unless you use an irrevocable trust for asset protection, you can still retain complete control over the property you place in your trust during your lifetime. Your powers of attorney most likely have an effect only if you become incapacitated during your lifetime. Should this occur, your agent can take control of things like your financial affairs and medical decisions.

One way to minimize the risks associated with powers of attorney is to add your adult children as trustees during your lifetime. A Kendall County, IL estate planning lawyer can help you devise an estate plan that protects you and your beneficiaries.

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Small Business Estate Planning 101

 Posted on April 18, 2024 in Estate Planning

IL estate planning lawyerWhen you have worked hard to build up a small business, you probably want that business to become a part of your legacy. There are steps you can take during the estate planning process to give your business the best chances of surviving and thriving long after you are gone. Or, if you know that your business is not likely to survive you for any reason, you can plan for the people you care about most to benefit from the company in another way. Small business owners should be represented by a Kendall County, IL estate planning attorney who is experienced in succession planning for small companies.

Tips for Small Business Owners

Some estate planning tips for small business owners include:

  • Consider your successor - Is there someone else who can take over running the business? If you have business partners, consider using a buy-sell agreement so that they can buy out your ownership interest from your chosen beneficiary when you are gone. Or, if you have an adult son or daughter who can take over the business, you may be able to leave him or her your ownership interest directly. 

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Transferring the Title to Your House After Death

 Posted on April 08, 2024 in Estate Planning

IL estate lawyerThere are several ways you can prepare to transfer the title to your house after you are gone. Your options may include using a will, a trust, or a Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI). Some methods of passing your real estate on to your loved ones posthumously are more efficient - and easier for your beneficiary - than others. Your house is likely one of your most valuable assets. Most homeowners work hard to buy their homes and have put a great deal of work into it over the years. You have probably invested a lot of time, money, and work into buying and improving your home, so it is important to work with a Yorkville, IL attorney to make sure that your wishes regarding who should own your home when you pass away will be respected.

Ways to Transfer Ownership of Your Home After Death

An attorney can help you decide which method of planning for a loved one to take title to your house once you are not here to enjoy it any longer is likely to serve you and your beneficiaries best. Your options may include: 

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How to Amend a Will or Trust in Illinois

 Posted on March 22, 2024 in Estate Planning

IL estate planning lawyerPeople make changes to their estate plans for a number of reasons. You may have become estranged from someone you had named as a beneficiary. A house you left to someone in your will may have been sold when you moved into a retirement home. Your financial situation could have changed, meaning that you have new assets to account for in your will or trust. When you choose to make changes to a will or trust, it is important to follow the correct legal procedure. Attempting to do it yourself might result in the creation of an unenforceable document. It is important to have a Kendall County, IL estate planning attorney help you make amendments properly.

Amending or Changing a Will in Kendall County, IL

If you are making substantial changes to your will, such as eliminating a beneficiary, changing who receives what, or adding a significant amount of new property, it is may be better to make a new will. This means that you will formally revoke your former will and replace it with a will that expresses your current wishes. While you can use a codicil to make minor changes - for example, if you were going to leave your son a Honda Civic but you traded it in for a Toyota Tacoma and want him to have that instead - codicils can become complicated. The formalities that apply to will execution apply to codicils.

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Estate Planning for Blended Families in Illinois

 Posted on March 07, 2024 in Estate Planning

IL estate plan lawyerHaving a blended family can be wonderful. Many step-parents enjoy having “bonus children,” as the children may enjoy having “bonus parents.” Conversely, there may be significant conflict among blended families, especially if your step-children were already adults when you married their mother or father. Some children refuse to accept their step-parent. There are even situations where some people have step-children they barely know or have never met. You might also consider yourself part of a blended family if your own parents are divorced and you have close relationships with your step-siblings. Being part of a blended family can complicate your estate planning in some ways. If you have a blended family, it is important to clarify your familial relationships when you are working with a Yorkville, IL estate planning attorney.

How Step-Children Can Factor into Your Estate Plans

Under Illinois laws of descent and distribution, your step-children are not automatically considered your children for purposes of estate planning. You would need to formally adopt your step-children if you intend for them to count as your children under the law. However, this mainly applies to intestacy - dying without an estate plan. If you are taking the time to create an estate plan, you are free to specify that your step-children should be considered your children when it is time to carry out your plans. Your attorney can help you include language in your will or trust to make sure that your step-children are treated as your own children.

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Four Different Types of Special Needs Trusts in Illinois

 Posted on February 26, 2024 in Estate Planning

Yorkville, IL special needs trust lawyerSpecial needs trusts are essential tools for individuals with disabilities to ensure their financial security while maintaining eligibility for government benefits. In Illinois, several types of special needs trusts serve different purposes and cater to varying needs. Understanding these trusts is crucial for individuals and families navigating the complex landscape of disability planning. For legal assistance, contact a qualified attorney to ensure you can meet your legal goals.

Third-Party Special Needs Trust

A third-party special needs trust is commonly used by parents, grandparents, or other relatives to provide for a loved one with a disability without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. This trust is funded with the assets of someone other than the individual with a disability. It can be tailored to meet specific needs such as medical costs, education, housing, and more.

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