Creating a solid plan for your wills, trusts and estates is one of the most important things you can do.
You’ve worked hard to create a good life. After years of dedication, you deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing your hard work won’t go to waste. With proper stewardship and planning, you can leave your wills, trusts, and estates in order. This ensures all that you have created will be passed down properly and responsibly, so that you can be confident in the well-being of the people you love and the things you have worked so hard to earn.
If this is the first time you are giving this subject serious thought, you most likely have a lot of questions about how wills, trusts, and estates work in Illinois. Our team can help. Gillespie Law Group, LLC has the expertise you need to not only understand wills, trusts and estates, but also to help you create a solid plan for your future. For years, Genie Miller Gillespie, Attorney at Law, worked to create and protect families through adoption legal services. Today, our law practice provides even more services with the same goal: creating and protecting families.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can work with you.
If there’s only one thing you take away from reading, make it this: The key to properly planning your wills, trusts, and estates in Illinois is a good attorney.
Wills: Leaving Your Loved Ones in a Better Place
You most likely know that wills, trusts and estates are three important, yet distinct, legal items to consider. But the actual difference between the three? That is probably a bit fuzzy. If you are like most people, you aren’t quite sure what sets them apart.
Let’s start with wills.
Wills are perhaps the most common of the three legal documents, and they are very important. Anyone who wishes to pass the rewards of their hard work on to a family member should begin with a will.
A will is a legal document which indicates who will receive assets — funds, property or other monies — upon your passing. Who should be considering a will? Essentially, anyone who has children or other loved ones and wants to pass important things on to them should be proactively planning their last will and testament.
Even if you are younger and healthy, it’s never too early to consider working with an attorney to write a will. This ensures that even in the most awful scenario, your family is left with the resources to recover.
Trusts: Establishing a Plan for the Future
Moving on to the second item when considering wills, trusts and estates: trusts.
A trust is a legal arrangement with a few more moving pieces than a will. When you create a trust, you are establishing both your will and the method of distribution for the items in your will.
There are three people involved in a trust:
- The person who will be given control of your estate (trustee)
- The person who your estate will be given to (beneficiary)
The trustee will take control of your estate upon your passing. According to the trust plan you have created, the trustee will then dole out your estate to the beneficiary. So, for instance, instead of receiving the whole of their inheritance at once, the beneficiary would receive it in chunks. This could be as a yearly gift or scheduled monthly like a salary.
Living trusts are preferred by those who have younger children who would not be able to responsibility receive and handle an entire inheritance at once. It’s a way of protecting them from financial pitfalls. Living trusts, as the name implies, can be established and used while you are still alive.
Establishing a trust is also one of the best ways to avoid probate. Because a trust already establishes a method of distribution for your wealth, it effectively preempts the probate process that would occur for your estate, saving your beneficiaries time and money.
Estates: The Big Picture
Your estate is comprised of all your assets. Your car, home, investments, savings — it all comes together to create your estate. Estate planning is a big-picture approach to wills, trusts and estates in Illinois. Estate planning can include both wills and trusts. It is essentially the processing of assigning destinations to your assets once you pass. Wills and trusts are tools you use in the process of planning your estate.
Estate planning is an important process, and we can help. Our team will assist in evaluating your assets, creating a detailed estate plan, writing a last will and testament and protecting your family in the future.
Find an Illinois Attorney for Wills and Trusts
You have a lot of choices when it comes to finding a lawyer to help with your wills, trusts and estates. You can turn to big law firms or individual practitioners. You could work with someone who specializes in wills, trusts and estates, or you could find an attorney who is more generalized in their practice.
Every situation is unique, so what matters most to you may be different than what matters most to someone else. For instance, you may emphasize the importance of expertise where someone else is more concerned about cost.
With that being said, there are a few things you should know about how to find a good estate attorney:
Experience: One of the first questions to ask an attorney is how many cases they handle each year and how long they have been working on wills, trusts and estates in Illinois. The longer the career, the better. A wealth of experiences means an understanding of how to navigate a wide variety of complex cases. This is something you want from your attorney — and something our team brings to the table. We have more than two decades of successful legal service under our belts. That is a big advantage for you.
Personal Interest: Are you being given the time you deserve? Some larger law firms may bounce you around from law clerk to law clerk. Is that really the treatment you want? The attorney working on your wills, trusts and estates in Illinois should be personally interested in your well-being and attentive to your needs. That’s the type of treatment you’ll receive when you work with Gillespie Law Group. Contact us today and we’ll prove how interested we are in serving you.
Adaptable: Every estate plan is unique. Can your attorney adapt to that? Rather than approach your wills, trusts and estates with a rigid formula, look for an attorney who will listen to you, understand your situation and formulate a unique approach that is perfect for you. We understand that your situation won’t fit a pre-written formula, and we will always work with our clients to create a personal plan that fits their life.
Wills, trusts and estates are important legal matters. It’s wise to begin planning in advance. Our goal is to give you confidence about the way your assets will be handled.
If you have questions about wills, trusts and estates, please contact us today. Call 312-332-6339 at any time. We can schedule a free consultation at any time to talk about your needs and goals — and how we can help you achieve them.