The recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused instability in financial markets and significant disruptions to the lives of those living in Illinois and throughout the country. However, in addition to the challenges that it has caused, the recent outbreak may also create estate planning opportunities. For instance, assets that have depreciated in value may be prime candidates to be gifted to beneficiaries now. This can be done either through a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) or by loaning the assets to a beneficiary.
Illinois residents might want to take a closer look at their estate planning strategies to ensure that they will not struggle with costly tax implications. Those who have significant assets have opportunities available to them as far as protecting their wealth and leaving a legacy for their families is concerned.
Illinois residents may wonder how they can save time and money while making a plan to pass their property on to their loved ones after their death. People can determine how to do so by making a will or creating a trust, but if they do not do so, their belongings will pass according to the state's laws on intestacy. These go into effect when people die without a will. In order to avoid this result, some people may turn to downloadable forms in order to prepare a will on their own.
Some people in Illinois may think that they are too young to need an estate plan or that an estate plan is only about making a will. However, all adults need some kind of estate plan.
Many people in Illinois may be thinking about how to handle their assets in the future. People want to ensure that their loved ones are provided for while also avoiding excessive estate taxes and fees. Trusts may be a good option to include as part of the estate planning process, because they provide greater privacy, flexibility and control. There are several different types of trusts that people may make use of as part of their estate plan, including irrevocable trusts.
Estate planning refers to a series of decisions that a person is empowered to make under Indiana law prior to death. Many factors can affect a person's estate plan, including the amount and kind of assets owned by the person, the number of living children or children of deceased children, estate and income taxes and any special circumstances that the person executing the documents wishes to use to dispose of particular assets. Another factor that has affected estate planning decisions in Indiana and other states during the last two decades is the advancement in medical care that can keep a person's organs functioning even if the person lacks mental or physical capacity.
The estate planning device known as a "special needs trust" has become the cornerstone of financial and estate planning for families with a special needs child. Many families have used this estate planning tool with great success, but special needs trusts cannot be viewed as "one size fits all" planning tools. Every situation is different, and every special needs trust must be tailored to the individual beneficiary.
Most individuals who live in northeastern Illinois and northern Indiana have heard about "living wills," but not everyone understands this legal term. A "will" is considered by many people to be a written document that directs the disposition of a deceased person's assets following that person's death. "Living wills," on the other hand, serve a different purpose: to express a person's wishes about end-of-life medical care and living circumstances. For this reason, these documents are often referred to as "end-of-life directives." Both Illinois and Indiana have enacted statutes that authorize living wills, but the two statutes differ only in detail.
When Illinois residents are thinking about their estate planning needs, they will generally focus on the basics, like wills and trusts. There are other aspects to an estate plan, but it is important to tailor the documents to the individual's needs. For those who are in a situation in which they might need a power of attorney, it is imperative to understand various critical points about such a document.
Illinois residents who want to make certain they are fully organized and that their loved ones are cared for after they have gone will take the necessary steps to have a comprehensive estate plan in place. While this is a good idea regardless of the circumstances, many people will be uncertain as to whether wills or trusts are better for them. There are many factors to consider when making that determination.