Should I Use a Revocable Living Trust or an Irrevocable Living Trust?

IL estate planning lawyer, Illinois trust attorneyAlthough many people assume that a last will and testament is the only estate planning tool that they need, a will is not always the best way to accomplish all of your estate planning goals. Other estate tools such as living trusts are often overlooked due to confusion or misunderstandings about the purpose of these tools. A trust is a legally binding agreement involving an individual or entity called a trustee who holds property for the benefit of a beneficiary. A living trust is an advantageous tool for managing your assets during your lifetime and then passing those assets to beneficiaries upon your death. If you are interested in using a living trust to manage your assets, you may question whether you should use a revocable living trust or an irrevocable living trust.

Revocable Trusts

As the name implies, a revocable trust is one that is able to be revoked or canceled. If you place assets in a revocable trust, you remain in control of those assets. You are also considered to be the owner of those assets in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service and other governmental agencies. Because the property is yours, you can choose to remove the property from the trust and use it for other purposes at any time. A revocable living trust covers you while you are alive, in the event that you are incapacitated by illness or injury, and after you pass away. One of the greatest benefits of a revocable living trust is that it avoids probate– the public legal process during which a will is validated in court. Because you remain the owner of the property placed in a revocable trust, transferring property to a revocable trust does not affect your federal income taxes or estate income.

Irrevocable Trusts

An irrevocable trust is not able to be withdrawn. When you transfer assets to an irrevocable trust, you no longer own the assets or have control over them. The trust itself becomes the owner of the property. This means that you cannot take the assets out of the trust. Because you are not the owner of the assets in an irrevocable trust, you cannot be taxed on them. However, you can continue to gain revenue on investments from the trust. Depending on your net worth and overall estate planning goals, there may be enormous tax benefits to placing assets in an irrevocable trust. Using an irrevocable trust may also help shield your assets from any future creditors.

Contact a Wheaton Trust Lawyer

Assets placed within a revocable trust may be withdrawn at any time while assets in an irrevocable trust are no longer considered your property. There are advantages and disadvantages to both irrevocable and revocable trusts. If you want to learn more about which type of trust will best suit your unique needs, contact Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Call our office today at 630-665-2500 and schedule a personalized consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County estate planning attorney.

Sources:

https://www.isba.org/sites/default/files/publications/pamphlets/Estate%20Planning.pdf
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/06/17/purposes-revocable-vs-irrevocable-trusts/
https://www.thebalance.com/living-vs-revocable-trust-3505393

 

When to Consider Contesting a Will

contest, Wheaton estate planning attorneyIf you have recently experienced the death of a loved one, it is understandable that you may have needed some time for things to get back to normal, especially if you had a close relationship with the person who died. Unfortunately, when the person’s will is presented for probate, there is the possibility of new problems. What happens, for example, if you discover that your loved one has made some unexpected changes or decisions regarding his or her will? In such a situation, you may have the option of contesting the will, but there are some considerations to address before you file.

Disagreement Is Not Enough

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that in any situation involving a will or the transfer of a decedent’s assets, it is practically guaranteed that someone will feel slighted or left out altogether. That someone may have expected to receive a particular part of the deceased person’s estate only to learn that the expectations were never written into the will. While you might be disappointed or hurt by how your loved one decided to distribute his or her property, hurt feelings are not grounds for contesting a will.

Grounds for a Will Contest

Under the law in Illinois, there are several situations in which challenging a will would be appropriate. These include:

  • The will was not executed properly: In Illinois, two separate people must witness the signing of the will. Named beneficiaries cannot be witnesses;
  • Lack of testamentary capacity: If your loved one was not of sound mind or otherwise did not understand the terms and implications of his or her decisions, the will could be invalidated;
  • Undue influence: Estate planning decisions are extremely personal and should be made voluntarily. If another person—including a family member or caregiver—pressured or coerced your loved one into making changes or writing a new will, the resulting document could be set aside by the court;
  • Fraud: During the process of estate planning, there are often many documents that must be signed and executed, many of which are prepared by another person. If your loved one, for example, signed the will believing it to be a different document—such as a medical directive—the court could decide that the will was procured through fraud.

In order for your will contest to be successful, you will need to prove your allegations. Doing so can be extremely difficult, but it may the only way for you to ensure that your loved one’s estate is handled as he or she intended.

Call a Wheaton Will Contest Attorney

Filing a will contest can have a dramatic effect on your family dynamics, so it is not a decision to made lightly. Before you take action, contact a DuPage County estate planning lawyer at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC today. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation, and get the help you need.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60

https://www.thebalance.com/what-are-the-grounds-for-contesting-a-will-3505208

Finding Ways to Save for Retirement

ways to save for retirement, DuPage County Estate Planning AttorneyAccording to the several financial studies, between 40 to 60 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, meaning that they earn just enough to get by. For many, the thought of an early retirement—or any retirement—is not a current achievable goal because there are no funds left over each week to put into retirement savings.

Financial advisors have discovered ways that can free debt committed paycheck funds and can therefore be redirected into a retirement savings nest egg. For example, only one in three households in this country prepare and follow a monthly budget as a way to track their spending. This can lead to a lot of wasteful spending. By following the trail of where those paycheck funds go, you may be surprised at how much is actually coming in and going out.  

Families can also take a look at eliminating expenses that may be unnecessary and divert those funds into savings. Some of the biggest potential expenses include cable and satellite television packages. How many of those 450 channels does your family actually watch? If your family is also big take-out consumers, consider cooking more meals at home. There is often a large price difference in the per plate cost for a meal you prepare compared to the per plate cost of that meal from a restaurant. Magazine subscriptions and gym memberships are also areas that may be able to be cut or downsized.

Although several purchased items are necessary—such as groceries—there are ways to cut down how much you are spending each month. Check grocery store sale flyers and stock up on the items you frequently use. Compare buying items in bulk as opposed to single packages. Make a list before you go shopping and stick to it, resisting those impulse buys.

When it comes to the vehicle you drive, eliminating a car payment can free up on the average $450 per month. Once your vehicle is paid off, resist the urge to go out and buy a new and "better" model. Take the amount you would have spent on a new vehicle payment and instead deposit it in a retirement account. Also, shop around for the best prices on car insurance each year.

If you receive a pay raise, instead of incorporating those funds into your household budget, put them into your retirement account instead. Do the same for any unexpected funds, such as a tax refund or job bonus.

Following these tips can begin the process of retirement planning. Additionally, make plans to contact an experienced DuPage County estate planning attorney to discuss other areas that you should address, such as wills, guardians or trusts. Call Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC at 630-665-2500 to schedule your consultation today.

Source:

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/articles/2016-04-01/how-to-free-up-money-to-put-toward-retirement?int=a9b409