The Types of Last Will and Testament Documents

A Last Will and Testament is designed to transfer assets upon death according to the wishes of the departed.  This is accomplished by addressing the three concerns of the transfer, namely, beneficiaries of the will, guardians for any minors and an executor to administer the estate.   This is accomplished in one of three separate ways.

The first type is a simple or statutory will which is primarily used in uncomplicated estate planning.  There are state specific forms containing the necessary legal language which is completed by filling in the blanks.  This "one size fits all" option is not recommended as each person's estate planning needs will be different.

The second type is a will with a testamentary trust.  This is a form of estate planning when the testator, or will-writer, does not desire to create a revocable trust.  This form of will is beneficial because it may avoid a guardianship estate if children are beneficiaries.   Yet this form does not always allow the estate to miss probate and is just as complex as setting up a revocable trust.

The third type is called a pour-over will.  It is drafted in tandem with a living or revocable trust as the beneficiary.  The will can provide a guideline for the executor to transfer all unallocated assets to the trust upon the death of the testator.  The benefit of such a will is that, if it is properly funded, then the costly hassle of probate court may be avoided.

Those people with children or those who own property should consider planning their estates, otherwise their assets could be fought over in court by relatives.  If you are thinking of creating a will or, better yet, a revocable living trust, it is important to have a guide.  Contact a skilled estate planning attorney in DuPage County to review your planning options.

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Probate and Ways to Avoid Probate

When people die with wills there are still accounts to settle.  Probate is a court process which distributes and manages your estate according to your terms.  It sounds like it should be an easy transition but in reality probate can take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years.

There are also costs associated with probate proceedings.  The list of costs comprises; appraisal fees, bond premiums, attorney and accountant fees, executor's fees, publication costs for legal notices, and court costs.  In Illinois, there are numerous options available to make this transition easier for your loved ones by avoiding probate altogether.

Living trusts offer a way to avoid probate for nearly every asset.  It requires a trust document which is similar to a will.  This document names a trustee who will be responsible for transferring your estate to your beneficiaries and avoid probate.

Joint ownership is another way to transfer property if it is owned by you and someone else.  This type of ownership includes a "right of survivorship" which transfers the property when one owner dies.  This is also accomplished with joint bank accounts.

Various accounts such as bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, and life insurance have the ability to be payable on death.  POD accounts usually require one form to be filled out by the account holder.  This effectively avoids because the beneficiary only needs to prove the death and their identity to collect the assets.

For more ways to limit or avoid the costly probate process, it is essential to consult a professional who can identify your specific needs.  Contact an experienced estate planning attorney in DuPage County to review your current estate plan.

The Most Cost Effective Way to Give Money

Birthdays. Christmas. Showers. What do all three have in common? The ability for the giver to enjoy seeing the receiver's reaction and joy to the gift given to them and knowing what they just gave made someone else happy. What a feeling. It is true that it is better to give than to receive in that regard.

If your love language is gift-giving, look into giving your financial contributions and gifts NOW instead of after your death. Wills are great and so is making sure people and organizations get what you worked a lifetime for, but, there are opportunities for you to see your hard earned money bless others today.

Krysia 1-21-13There are two very easy ways to go about this. First, is to pay either medical or educational bills – unlimited expenses! Just make sure you give directly to the institution on behalf of the person you wish to help. That means college, doctors, hospitals, medication – expenses anyone would appreciate the help with! Second, is to give no more than $13,000 per person per year. Yes! That means you can select as many people you would like to give each $13,000 a year to! Just remember that you do have a lifetime to give $1 million without paying taxes.

To setup and or to plan out your finances prior to your passing contact a DuPage County lawyer who will clearly explain your options and help you plan it all out. A knowledgeable and helpful attorney makes the process easier and most importantly, enjoyable to experience!