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Mokena Estate Planning And Probate Blog

What happens during a probate hearing?

When a person dies without a will or there are questions regarding its validity, the person's estate will move to probate. This process has many different components, from proving that a will is indeed valid to settling any remaining debt. The Balance offers the following information on what families can expect during a probate hearing.

When a will is available, the first step is to submit it to the court. There are few different methods of proving its validity, including the provision of an affidavit that states that witnesses were present when the deceased actually signed the will. If this document is not available, any witnesses to the signing will be asked to testify that the deceased signed the exact will submitted to the court.

Why the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act is so important

Disabilities affect people in any number of ways, and someone who needs extensive physical care may still be well-suited to take care of financial matters. Such matters can be tricky when dealing with a disability, as many of the programs that offer assistance are only available to those who fall below a certain income threshold.

What a special needs trust does 

How can I choose the right health care proxy?

A health care proxy is a person you appoint to make important medical decisions when you're no longer able, usually due to incapacity brought on by injury or illness. Even if you have documents in place stating your wishes, these may be disputed by your family. Because decisions related to your medical care are so crucial, Forbes offers the following guidance.

Is the person capable of standing up for your wishes?

What are different types of trusts?

As  resident in Illinois, you may be considering setting up a trust, but you're also likely wondering what your options are. Today, we'll take a look at a few types of trusts so you can better determine which would be best for you.

FindLaw kicks things off by examining the different types of trusts that you can look at. Some include:

  • Revocable
  • Irrevocable
  • Charitable
  • Asset protection
  • Special needs
  • Constructive

When should I create an irrevocable trust?

A trust can be an excellent addition to your estate plan. You have two basic choices: revocable or irrevocable. The names pretty much explain what they are. You can change revocable trusts, but you cannot change irrevocable trusts. While revocable trusts are often the best choice, there are some situations, according to US News and World Report, where irrevocable trusts are the best choice.

The main reason why you may choose an irrevocable trust is that it offers tax advantages over a revocable trust. It is important to note that this is usually only the case if you are financially well off. Otherwise, the tax breaks are not that impactful and are not a good reason to choose this type of trust.

What estate planning mistakes should I avoid?

If you're currently estate planning in Illinois, you probably know how important these documents are. While it's crucial you have an estate plan in place, it's also important that you take the proper steps to avoid common mistakes, which can render things like wills and trusts invalid. U.S. News & World Report offers the following advice in this case.

Be careful about leaving inheritances to young people

3 common executor errors

Serving as executor of a close confidante or loved one’s affairs requires a certain level of responsibility, but even the most responsible people can make errors along the way. If one of your loved ones passed away and left you in charge of his or her financial, legal and other affairs, you may feel overwhelmed and question whether you are doing everything you should be.

The executor role is a complex one, and one thing that may help you navigate the process is recognizing where others in similar roles commonly make mistakes and land themselves in trouble. So, what types of errors are common during the estate administration process?

How can special needs trusts benefit disabled beneficiaries?

People who want to set up an estate plan for the benefit of those they love have many options. Some may decide to create a will, others may opt for a trust. When it comes to trusts, it is important to keep in mind that many options may be on the table, some of which have been covered in our other blog posts. For some people, such as those who have a loved one that is disabled, a special needs trust is the most sensible course of action. In this post, we will take a closer look into some of the reasons why these trusts are so beneficial for some families in Mokena and around Illinois.

For starters, many people who have special needs are not able to fully care for themselves and depend on various benefits in order to get by. However, some people may worry that by passing down a significant amount of assets to a loved one who has special needs, they will be ineligible to receive certain benefits from the government that they are counting on. As a result, some families are able to address this issue by setting up a special needs trust to ensure that their loved one can continue to receive government benefits while still receiving assets from their loved one's estate after they pass away.

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.

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