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Mokena Estate Planning And Probate Blog

Plan your succession plan to be prepared for the future

You've been married for decades, and you want to make sure that everything you and your spouse have built together continues to grow long after you're gone. You both have worked hard to grow a business that supports your family and can continue to do so for generations.

The business world is tough, but so is passing on a business. Business succession is a serious concern for most business owners, so it's important that those you'd like to have take over understand the roles that they will take on.

What's a totten trust?

Trusts come in many forms. Some common trusts that you may want to discuss with your attorney include:

  • Constructive trusts
  • Special needs trusts
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Revocable trusts
  • Spendthrift trusts
  • Tax bypass trusts
  • Charitable trusts
  • Asset protection trusts
  • Pet trusts
  • Totten trusts

Of these, a rare kind of trust is the totten trust. This, sometimes called a poor man's trust or a payable on death account, is unique because of the ease of which it can be opened.

Can you have an executor removed from their position?

When your loved one passed away, you felt it was important to carefully monitor the way that their chosen executor performed their job. They were a close relative, but you didn't know them well. You weren't sure why they were chosen, but you supported your loved one's choice.

What you found unusual was that each time you returned to your loved one's home, it seemed a little emptier. When questioned, the executor acted like they had no idea what happened to certain items. You noticed that they had a new car purchased recently and started putting two and two together. After a confrontation, you discovered that they had been selling assets and using them for their own personal gain.

Talk about your estate plan this holiday season

The holidays are a great time for estate planning. While you might think this time of year is too busy to even think about your estate, the reality is that this is the one time of year when you're more likely to see everyone who needs to be informed about it.

It's a good time to talk about estate planning because it might be the only time you have to sit down with everyone who is named in your estate plan, for example, and talk about what you're planning. People tend to shy away from talking about death, and there are reasons for that. However, the reality is that all people do pass away, so talking about estate planning is unavoidable.

Who can be an elderly person's guardian?

When your mother or father reaches an age or level of disability where they need regular assistance with their care, you may want to seek guardianship. Elderly guardianship, which you may also hear called elderly conservatorship, is a relationship recognized by the courts that gives an individual the legal power to care for someone who can no longer care for themselves. The appointed guardian has to fulfill certain obligations regarding the elderly person's care.

The need for a guardian can be common among the elderly. When they can't handle regular daily tasks, like taking their medications or maintaining their hygiene, then a guardian may become necessary.

Here are 3 things to do to have someone declared incompetent

If there is one thing that you should know about estate planning, it is that you or your loved one must be competent when creating the plan. Someone who doesn't understand the documents that are being drawn up or who doesn't realize what rights they're signing away has no actual legal ability to sign. Someone who is not competent may make serious errors or easily get taken advantage of, which is something the law tries to eliminate.

Declaring someone incompetent isn't as easy as you may think, though. You'll have to show that a loved one is suffering from a mental illness or a problem that renders it impossible for them to make sound decisions for themselves. You will probably need to go to court, and you will want to work with an attorney throughout the entire incompetency application and hearing process. Here's what you'll need to do to have them declared incompetent.

3 things you need to know about a living revocable trust

If you are starting to build an estate plan, you may not yet have decided if you want to have a trust. If you are considering a living revocable trust, then there are some things that you might want to know before you decide.

Here are three things to consider if you may want a living revocable trust. If you decide that they're right for you, your attorney can help you set one up.

Plan for succession now and add it to your estate plan

If you want to plan for business succession, then you need to choose someone to take over your business when you retire, die or become disabled. It's important to plan for succession early on because you never know when you may need someone to take over.

The first, and most important, thing to do is to find a successor. You may want to pass the business onto a family member or transfer ownership to someone outside your family through your estate plan. Sometimes, new management steps into place from your existing pool of employees. If you run a large business, you may need to set up a plan for who takes over which roles when you pass.

What are some reasons to have trusts in your estate plan?

If you want to do all you can to protect your estate, then it may be smart to set up a trust. A trust should be considered to be an essential part of your estate plan because of the potential benefits. However, most estate plans don't actually establish a trust, even though they're fairly easy to set up.

The truth is that most estate plans do benefit from trusts. Some of the reasons to have trusts include:

  • To avoid court-supervised probate
  • To manage and control investments and spending
  • To protect beneficiaries against waste and poor judgment
  • To protect premarital assets from divorcing spouses
  • To help plan for business succession
  • To provide a structured income
  • To reduce income taxes or to prevent transfer or estate taxes

You can get help if you suspect undue influence

It is hard to imagine anyone taking advantage of your loved ones. Your parents were always kind and generous to those around them. Sadly, you believe that after your father passed away, your mother was manipulated throughout her grieving years.

It wasn't until she passed away that you saw that she had changed her entire estate plan. You were no longer the executor of the estate, like she'd discussed with you years before. You have copies of the original estate plan, and what she has now is nothing like it. In fact, the people listed as heirs aren't even related to you. It's all very bizarre, and you're sure that she was a victim of undue influence.

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Zapolis & Associates, P.C.
9991 191st Street
Mokena, IL 60448

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