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Mokena Estate Planning And Probate Blog

Does my special needs adult child need a guardian?

If you have a child who has special needs and cannot completely take care of him or herself, you may want to consider guardianship when your child turns 18. Regardless of any medical or mental health issues, the law is clear that when a person turns 18 years old, he or she is a legal adult in Illinois. If you feel your child will not be able to care for him or herself and make adult decisions, your best option is to seek guardianship.

To determine if you need guardianship, the Special Needs Alliance suggests taking a step back and thinking about your child and how well he or she handles daily tasks. Answer the question of whether or not your child has the ability to make good decisions. Also, consider if he or she would be able to properly handle his or her own finances. These things can point you in the right direction for or against guardianship.

How do I stop an executor from mismanaging an estate?

An executor's duties are to keep an estate in good financial condition. When the time comes, the executor distributes the assets as directed by the estate. Most people believe they have chosen a trustworthy and good executor, but sometimes executors prove they are not trustworthy to manage assets. If you suspect an executor of mismanaging assets of an estate in Illinois for which you are a beneficiary, you may take steps to stop him or her.

According to the National Law Review, the first step is understanding what the executor has done wrong. You cannot react if you have no real idea of where the executor has mismanaged. One area where the executor might error is missing tax payments. This leads to penalties that reduce the estate's value. An executor may also withhold distributions as dictated by the estate. There are other ways an executor may mismanage an estate. The bottom line is that no actions the executor takes should negatively impact the estate and its value.

What is succession planning?

Succession planning is the process of turning your business over to the next generation of leaders. Many business owners dread this transition, as it signals the end of their involvement in an enterprise they worked so hard to build. However, succession planning doesn't have to be a stressful or negative experience, especially with the following tips from American Express.

Focus on management training & mentoring

3 reasons a will might not be for you

When it comes to estate planning, you have probably heard many times how important and urgent the process is. Indeed, it is essential to have a plan in place indicating your final wishes and directions for your property. Too many people view a will as a one-size-fits-all estate planning solution, though, and this is not always the case. In fact, there are many reasons why a will may not be the best option.

The following are three examples of concerns you may have and reasons why a will could be an ill-advised option for your estate planning needs. Consider the following reasons why you should explore estate planning options beyond simply drafting a will:

Reasons to remove a trustee

If you are a beneficiary of a trust in Illinois and you have questions about how the trustee is handling the assets, you might be wondering if you can, and should, have him or her removed. Your hope is that the grantor of the trust thought everything through and made the best choice possible, but there are some valid and legitimate reasons why a trustee should be removed. Since the assets are being managed over many years, and are often substantial, it is important to make the best decision for everyone involved.

According to FindLaw, complications can arise when removing a trustee so it is always a good idea to get an experienced attorney involved. The process is typically easier when you have a good reason for wanting to remove the trustee. One reason is if there is hostility or bad communication between the trustee and beneficiaries. Another one is if the trustee is not fulfilling the terms of the trust. 

Why should parents create an estate plan?

Most parents in Illinois know how vital it is to appoint guardians for their children should they die. It is something you do early in parenthood, almost as a matter of course. But do not stop there, parents. Planning your estate is also important, and for the same reasons. It takes care of your children--and your property--after you are gone. Even if you do not have a big house, huge savings account or hefty investments, an estate plan is a valuable legacy in and of itself.

Investopedia notes four essential reasons moms and dads should develop an estate plan for their children, beginning with your investments. You likely have or will have a 401(k) or an IRA, as well as a home at some point in your life. These are assets that typically increase in value, and without an estate plan, you will not have a say in who receives these assets. Courts often decide who gets what when there is no plan, and it can cause fighting and take several years.

What role does the trustee play?

If you have prepared a trust in Illinois, then you have also had to appoint a trustee. You may also have been asked to be a trustee for someone else. It is a big responsibility. It may help you to make a better choice if you are choosing a trustee or handle your duties better if you are a trustee if you understand and can explain what the role of a trustee is.

According to Fidelity, as a trustee, you are legally required to handle the duties assigned to you. It is also important to note that you could be held liable for your actions as a trustee. That is why it is so important to make sure that you know your role and all your duties.

What type of trust should you choose?

As part of your estate planning efforts in Illinois, you may decide to create a trust. There are two types of trusts that you can consider, which are irrevocable and revocable. They operate differently. You have different levels of control with each also. The name of them kind of gives you some insight into how they work, but U.S. News and World Reports explains a revocable trust can be rewritten or ended by you where as an irrevocable trust cannot.

The main thing to know about these trusts is that you have more control over a revocable trust. You can make changes as needed or just do away with the trust if you want to. On the other hand, with an irrevocable trust, you create it and then it goes under the control of the trustee. You cannot make changes in the future. It is set in stone, so to speak. One good thing about an irrevocable trust is that it can protect your assets and do offer some tax advantages.

Is a revocable living trust right for me?

While they are a common component of a solid estate plan, many people are not fully aware of what revocable living trusts actually do. Unlike wills, trusts go into effect immediately after they're signed, which means they're active while the signee is still alive, and with revocable trusts you are free to make changes as you see fit. If this seems like it would be a good estate planning option for you, Forbes offers the following information to help you decide.

Trusts Help You Avoid Probate

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