Leave a Legacy
Life is uncertain, but you can certainly plan for it. Estate planning is not just for those advanced in years. It may sound grim, but an estate plan is something everyone needs. Whether you are aging, a young family, or a student leaving home for college, talk to the team at Bragee Law to better understand how to protect your rights and wishes.
Every plan is different just like the needs of each client. Some clients just need a simple will and a power of attorney, while others need a complex trust to protect their assets from unwanted taxes.
- A will is a legal document that speaks to your wishes after death. Wills are commonly known for allowing individuals to designate who gets items of importance at the time they pass. Examples could be a special piece of jewelry, furniture, or specific amounts of money.
- Wills also allow clients to leave behind their intent for important decisions regarding their loved ones. An example would be clients can designate who they wish to serve as guardians for their minor children so the Court doesn’t have to guess, or rely on testimony from living family members.
- A will is an important piece to your overall estate plan, but it does not necessarily prevent probate.
- Trusts are estate planning tools created to avoid probate and oftentimes maximize tax savings for both the client and the trust beneficiary.
- Revocable living trusts are trusts funded and created while you are living and that you retain the power to revoke or amend.
- An irrevocable trust is a trust created while you are living but that you are unable to modify.
- A testamentary trust is a trust that is funded and created at your death.
Transfer on Death Instruments
- In recent years, Illinois enacted legislation to create the transfer on death instrument or TODI.
- This document allows individuals to transfer their property at the time of death without the need of probate. This is an extremely efficient way to transfer property and minimize tax consequences to the recipient. After a TODI is drafted, signed, and witnessed by two non-interested witnesses, it must be recorded in the county in which the property is located before the owner’s death.
Durable Powers of Attorney
- In Illinois, there are two types of powers of attorney: financial and medical.
- Financial powers of attorney designate an agent or attorney, in fact, to make financial decisions in the event you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
- Medical powers of attorney designate an agent or attorney, in fact, to make medical decisions in the event you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
What You Need to Know
Most of our clients come in with the clear goal of avoiding probate. What is probate? Simply put, probate is the legal process your estate goes through after your death to determine where your estate assets are distributed. If one dies intestate, or without a will, the State of Illinois has a statute that determines how to appropriately apportion the assets in your estate at your passing. To avoid the court deciding where your estate assets are allocated, set up an estate plan. Probate is not something a client should fear. However, most clients want their loved ones to avoid the time, money, and emotional strain associated with court and probate. If you plan for death before it happens, you can save your family the overwhelming process of making complex legal decisions in a time of mourning. Plan ahead and allow your loved ones the time to grieve.