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Mokena Estate Planning And Probate Blog

5 tips for trustees

Being a trustee comes with many responsibilities. You may have concerns about it being overwhelming. As a trustee, you have a legal duty to carry out the terms of the trust. While acting as a trustee is not for everyone, there are some guidelines you can follow to make it easier.

Here is some advice for administering a trust.

Does my parent with Alzheimer's need a guardian?

When your parent is diagnosed by an Illinois medical provider with Alzheimer's, it can be difficult to process for everyone involved. This disease will change your parent's life and yours. Plus, there is no cure, and treatment options are limited. The best course of action after a diagnosis is to figure out the future and plan for the care your parent will need in the long term. This may include a guardianship.

Parentgiving explains that you do not have to set up a guardianship right away, but you should watch for signs that one is needed before your loved one's condition has become too advanced. This will help guarantee safety and see that your parent gets proper treatment and care.

The many benefits of a living trust

At Zapolis & Associates, PC, in Illinois, we know that many people neglect to make a will or engage in any other estate planning throughout their entire lives. Other people, however, take a much more thoughtful and reasoned approach to their ever-growing estates so as to ensure that they not only attain their financial goals, but also that their assets ultimately go to the people they want them to. If you are one of these latter people, you may wish to establish a living trust to protect your assets.

As RBC Wealth Management explains, you set up a living trust, often called an inter vivos trust, during your lifetime, placing whatever assets you wish into it. You then designate yourself and anyone else you wish as beneficiaries of the trust. You likewise can appoint yourself as trustee. In addition, you decide how long you want your living trust to remain in existence, such as for a specified period of years, throughout your lifetime, or throughout the lifetime of the last surviving beneficiary.

What are the grounds to contest a will?

It may seem like contesting a will is something that happens all the time, but the reality is that there must be a good reason for the court to allow a will contest. The state of Illinois sets the guidelines for when a will can be contested. It is a good idea to understand them. Knowing the grounds can enable you to avoid issues with your own will or ensure a loved one's will will not be contested.

According to the Illinois Courts, there are five grounds for contesting a will. A will can be completely thrown out or partially invalidated if only a portion is found to be invalid on any of the grounds.

Can you keep adult children from arguing about the estate?

When you set up your estate plan in Illinois, you may not consider what your adult children will do after your death. While you may hope that your kids will settle the estate peacefully, it is a good idea to prepare in advance for conflict.

Sometimes naming an executor for your estate can help your family avoid conflict. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, this may help keep your adult children from arguing about who should be in charge of the estate. You may also want to assign tasks to your other children, such as planning your funeral, so everyone feels like a necessary part of your estate plan. Additionally, it can be beneficial to talk to your children so they know what to expect.

How Can I Locate a Lost 401(k)?

While it may seem impossible, it's quite easy to lose track of a retirement account. Maybe you changed jobs years ago and forgot to tie up any loose ends before you left. In this case you could have retirement money you lack access to, money that could make all the difference once you stop working for good. Forbes offers the following advice to help you track down a long-forgotten retirement plan in order to prepare for a bright financial future.

Contact Past Employers

Understanding a special needs trust

As the parent of a special needs child in Illinois, you lead a full and busy life. Depending on the nature and severity of your child’s disability, caring for him or her may take nearly all of your time. You may sometimes worry and wonder about who will provide this needed care should (s)he outlive you.

Establishing a special needs trust for your child’s benefit may very well set your mind at ease regarding his or her present and future care. When your attorney helps you set up this type of trust, you name your child as beneficiary and can name yourself as the trustee, designate the person, facility or agency who will continue caring for him or her after your death, and put all sorts of assets into it, including the following:

  • Any governmental benefits (s)he receives such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid
  • Any money or assets (s)he receives via inheritance
  • Any money (s)he receives from a lawsuit settlement
  • Any other money or income-producing assets you wish to include

Different ways divorce could impact your trust

If you have determined that bringing your marriage to an end is necessary, you might have a number of concerns and you could wonder how this decision will affect your future. For example, you might be concerned about the outcome of a custody dispute or property division. With that said, there are other financial concerns that you may need to take into consideration. If you have a trust, you may need to take a second look at your estate plan and make necessary changes. Each case is unique, however, so it is crucial to make sure you figure out which steps you need to take.

Sometimes, no changes need to be made to a trust when a couple splits up. For example, a trust that was set up to benefit a child may not need any revision even though the child's parents are no longer married. In other instances, a trust may need to be revised, whether someone wishes to change the way in which assets are distributed or remove a trustee. It is important to point out that there are a variety of trusts, from special needs trusts to revocable and irrevocable trusts, and the approach varies from one to another.

Should you appoint a child as power of attorney?

Choosing someone to be your power of attorney (POA) is a vital piece of estate planning since your POA will be empowered to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable to do so. Some Illinois residents feel their adult child is the best person qualified to become their POA. However, while there are good reasons for a child to be a POA, appointing an offspring can also cause substantial problems.

Many parents trust their adult child and have no problem selecting a son or a daughter as a power of attorney. However, if the family contains two or more siblings, appointing just one as a POA could be a problem. According to Agingcare.com, conflict between siblings can break out if there are complicated relationships among the siblings. Sometimes these conflicts may be nothing more than petty bickering among the family members. However, the situation could also result in siblings waging legal battles with each other.

How to choose the best guardian for your child

While it may be unpleasant to think about, there could come a day when you and your spouse are no longer available to care for your minor children. In this case the Illinois courts would step in to make the decision, which could have potentially heart-breaking results. Fortunately, you can use estate planning tools to select a guardian for your minor children and Forbes offers the following tips to help you make the best choice.

Make a List of Potential Choices

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Mokena, IL 60448

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