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Mokena Estate Planning And Probate Blog

What are advantages of creating a charitable trust?

Nonprofits and charitable organizations in Illinois often rely upon donations to ensure their survival. While you are estate planning, you can create a charitable trust to assist the group that you currently support or would like to donate to in the future. In addition to satisfying your need for philanthropy, creating a charitable trust can also provide you with plenty of financial benefits.

According to the Illinois Attorney General, there are specific steps that need to be taken in order to create a charitable trust. The proper documents need to be filed, for starters, stating the trustee as well as the type of charitable trust you are creating. These records, registrations and fees must be kept up to date to maintain proper status.

What is a guardian at litem?

If your loved ones begin to age to the point of needing guardianship, or if someone in your family is or becomes physically or mentally disabled, you need not worry about their health and safety. Illinois offers the right to appoint a guardianship if a need is determined, with Illinois offering highly progressive guardianship options solely focused on protecting the rights, independence, and well-being of your loved one. One part of the process involved in seeking guardianship for your loved one is working with a guardian at litem - but what exactly is that?

According to Illinois.gov, a guardian ad litem is a lay person or attorney appointed by the courts to represent the disabled person's best interests during guardianship hearings. They observe and report on behalf of the court to determine if the guardianship is appropriate. It is the guardian ad litem's responsibility to ensure the disabled person is fully informed of his or her rights under a guardianship, and to understand the wishes of the disabled person in the event of an appointed guardian.

Can a testamentary trust improve control over your business?

When planning for the future, you know nothing is set in stone. While you may wish to establish a trust that ensures your business will be appropriately handled by your family upon your retirement or passing, changing conditions may mean what you wish for your Illinois business and assets today may not reflect your desires five, ten or twenty years in the future. So how can you make use of a testamentary trust to give you more control over your business?

First, you should understand what a testamentary trust is. The Illinois Department of Revenue defines a testamentary trust as a trust you can create, amend, refine and revoke throughout your lifespan. While you live, you remain the sole or primary beneficiary of the trust, keeping complete control over your business - and complete control over the disposition of your business and assets upon your death. A testamentary trust remains flexible until your passing; only on your passing is the trust deemed irrevocable and final.

4 reasons to get a trustee removed

You hope that the trustee who is responsible for managing the trust for your loved one is competent and honest. The trustee should manage the trust responsibly according to the wishes of the grantor. Unfortunately, not all trustees are trustworthy. 

What happens when a trustee is shady or incompetent? Can you litigate the trust? Here are some situations in which you may want to enter trust litigation.

How to Choose a Good Trustee for Your Estate

One of the most important aspects of creating an estate plan is choosing the right trustee. A quality candidate will be able to perform all the necessary tasks, while also proving to be readily available when the time comes for duties to be carried out. If you're in search of a trustee in Illinois, the AARP recommends the following tips to help you select the best candidate to handle your affairs after you're gone.

The most crucial consideration when choosing a trustee is whether this person will be available when needed. Your trustee will need to be physically and mentally capable after you die, so choosing a person who is older or in poor health isn't usually the best option. You can also choose one or two backup options, who can take over in the event your first choice is unavailable.

What is an inter vivos trust?

When you make your plans for the future, you want to be certain that no matter what happens before or after your passing, your Illinois business is safely handled by those you trust to manage your affairs - usually your family. You may be advised in this instance to set up an inter vivos trust, but what exactly is this type of trust?

Per the Illinois Department of Revenue, an inter vivos trust is essentially a living trust. This is a trust you set up while alive to benefit another person, often a family member. This is different from a testamentary trust, which only goes into effect upon death. With an inter vivos trust, you are able to allocate assets such as your business holdings to beneficiaries while alive and under terms that you specify.

How to prepare children to one day take over your business

You started a business to be your own boss and to one day give your children an opportunity to take it over. It is important to remember that passing a company from one generation to the next is a process, not an event. You need to prepare them adequately, or you will find yourself among nearly two-thirds of family-owned businesses that do not last between the transition from first to second generation. 

When you first develop your business plan, it should contain some details for how you want business succession to occur. This gives you plenty of time to plan your future and the future of your child. 

How Can I Establish Adult Guardianship?

If someone you love is no longer able to care for him or herself, establishing guardianship might be necessary. However, the process can be complex, which why understanding how guardianship works in Illinois is so essential. Caring.com offers a few helpful tips on how to establish guardianship on behalf of someone you love, which can greatly improve one's quality of life.

The first step is to understand what adult guardianship entails. If illness has rendered a person incapable of making financial, medical, and other decisions on their own, a court can establish a legal guardian on behalf of that person. This will provide a legal basis for decision-making, including place of residence, types of medical care, and how bills or other expenses are paid.

What is probate litigation?

Although you may be familiar with the term "probate" as it relates to asset distribution after someone's death, probate litigation is a specific circumstance within this field. Probate courts deal with matters relating to the debts and property of a person who has died.

Probate litigation concerns conflicts regarding the property and debts of the deceased. Even if a person had a will when they passed away, conflicts can sometimes arise regarding will contests and other matters that require going through the court system. This is where probate litigation plays a role. If you are facing conflicts in an inheritance or property from a family member, probate litigation may be something you need to look into.

How Can I Avoid Probate?

If your estate is subject to probate, you run the risk of incurring steep legal costs and delaying the distribution of your assets to your heirs. Avoiding probate is crucial in this case, and there are a few methods you can utilize during estate planning that will allow you to do just that. The Balance has more information on how you can arrange your estate so that probate is no longer a concern.

When it comes to retirement accounts or life insurance policies, beneficiary designations allow you to disseminate the proceeds of your accounts to your heirs after you die. There are other times when you can use beneficiary designations, including on bank accounts and even real estate. In Illinois, you can implement a life estate deed (which allows ownership of property until your death). This process is not subject to probate court, which will cut both costs as well as time.

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