One of the main reasons people in Illinois and across the nation formulate an estate plan is to avoid family disputes after they have gone. This is especially worrisome for those who have substantial assets, but it is a concern for anyone.
In Illinois, a frequent concern for people who are crafting their estate plans and thinking about every possible eventuality is what they will do if they need another person to make health care decisions in their stead. This can be a difficult issue to come to grips with, but it is wise to be prepared for it. A health care power of attorney will let another person - an "agent" - make the decisions on the individual's behalf. This can encompass many parts of the health care process and, before granting someone this power, it is important to understand what it entails.
Some individuals in Illinois might see news stories about relatives of famous or wealthy people engaged in an estate plan dispute, and they may think it does not apply to them. However, crafting estate planning documents is critical regardless of the circumstances. A prime example of why is exemplified with the estate of the late singer Aretha Franklin.
Although formulating an estate plan is becoming more common for Illinois residents, there is still a perception that only those who are of significant means need to have one. This is a mistake that can be costly in multiple ways. Not only does it hinder attempts to preserve assets, but it can have tax implications, spark family disputes and cause other problems that are avoidable. Having a basic estate plan is critical and there are several reasons for these that people might not have considered.
End of life planning is not an easy matter for Illinois residents to come to grips with. This is true for people at any age. However, failing to have a comprehensive estate plan can cause problems after death. Family disputes, legal battles and more can come about if there is a hesitation or reluctance in drafting estate planning documents. Often, a main sticking point in drafting these documents is that the person - the testator - does not know what he or she needs. It is important to have legal advice that can tailor the estate plan to every individual's situation.
For those in Illinois who are preparing for the future by determining what kind of estate plan would be best-suited for them, it is often viewed as easier and more expedient to simply have a basic will. While in many cases, this is wise, there are other strategies that might be better. Trusts are just such a device. Some might be under the impression that trusts are only for those with significant income and assets. However, that is not true. When deciding whether to use a trust or not, having legal advice from a law firm that specializes in estate planning is a must.
Crafting an estate plan is something all Illinois residents should do. While it is important for people of all ages, it is even more critical for those 55 and older. However, recent research indicates that those in this age range have not taken the necessary steps to draft estate planning documents. According to Merrill Lynch and Age Wave, almost half of those 55 and older have failed to craft any estate plan. Since many family disputes, financial problems and more have emanated from the failure to take this basic step, it is important to understand the importance of these documents and to discuss them with a legal professional.
Illinois residents who have significant assets and are drafting estate planning documents will have various concerns about how their loved ones will be taxed should understand various strategies to protect their wealth. This is where wise and proactive estate planning comes in. When preparing an estate plan based on the current financial climate and how the government views its role in taxing citizens, it is also important to plan for years to come.
For many Illinois residents, thinking about an estate plan is an unwanted acknowledgement that life is finite. It is not something they want to consider, let along act upon. However, failure to have even a basic estate plan is a mistake that will have far-reaching ramifications for a person's family. This is avoidable by making sure the strategies for an estate plan are adhered to. Discussing the benefits of drafting estate planning documents with a law firm that specializes in these matters can put a person's mind at ease and prepare for the future.
Income, wealth and wealth management are not things that are commonly discussed in American households. When these topics do come up, it can leave the individuals involved feeling uncomfortable. This is one reason why so many people procrastinate when it comes to estate planning. We hope that the tips provided below will serve as a strong starting point for those who wish to have meaningful conversations with their loved ones about estate planning.