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Mokena Estate Planning And Probate Blog

Using trusts to protect financially irresponsible heirs: Part 1

Estate planning enables you to control the transfer of your assets in Illinois when you die. You create plans to reduce the involvement of probate court, minimize estate taxes and prevent/minimize creditor access. What can you do to prevent your heirs from squandering away all the fruits of your labor? Though your voice is no longer heard once those assets change ownership, you can structure your estate plans to include provisions when concerns about financial irresponsibility exist.

One type of provision you can use in your estate plans to protect your estate from financially irresponsibility involves trusts. Trusts enable you to leave behind instructions to protect your beneficiaries from their spendthrift ways. It also enables you to protect their inheritances from other parties who could try to benefit from the gift at their expense, i.e., creditors and ex-spouses. Here are some additional ways you can protect your estate from financially irresponsible heirs.

Probate litigation and sibling disputes

Probate litigation can be challenging for countless reasons, but this process can be especially complicated when sibling disputes occur. There are different reasons why siblings may find themselves in the middle of a difficult dispute, whether they disagree over key issues regarding the way in which an estate plan is being managed or they have struggled with a longstanding rivalry. If you are going through a probate dispute involving one of your siblings, it is imperative to handle the situation properly and do what you can to minimize some of the problems that can arise during these disputes.

Whether you are in charge of your loved one's estate or you are a beneficiary and you are upset with how it is being managed, you may be dealing with multiple issues related to the probate process. You could be under a considerable amount of stress and you may also be dealing with emotional challenges, especially if the dispute involves your sibling or other family members. In some instances, these disputes have led to long-term bitterness between siblings, while others may be challenging due to existing tensions between siblings.

A second marriage may present estate planning challenges

Deciding to remarry can bring with it a slew of difficult decisions, especially if there are children from a previous relationship. Things come up during the planning stages of creating a new family consisting of children you and your new spouse may share with a prior one.

Something that may become a sticky situation is your estate plan. Once you wed someone else, you will have to give significant consideration to a few issues, so they do not wind up burdening your family should you die suddenly.

You just became a new parent. Do you need an estate plan?

As a new Illinois parent, your life likely has become a whirl of all things baby. But in your zeal to love, feed and protect him or her, have you thought about starting an estate plan to provide for him or her now and in the future? If not, you should.

Kiplinger reports that you and your spouse, at the very least, should both contact an attorney and draft your respective Last Wills and Testaments. Not only will these legal documents establish that you want your child to inherit when you die, they should also name the person who you want to finish raising and caring for your child in the event both of you die in an unexpected and untimely accident. Nevertheless, these wills provide little value without some additional estate planning vehicles.

Creating an estate plan during the summer

For many families, the summer months offer a break from school, and even work responsibilities. From spending more time with children to planning vacations, there are a number of reasons why the summer can be an excellent time of year. Moreover, summer can be a great time to set up an estate plan, since some people have more free time during this season. Parents may be free from some of the responsibilities that consume their time during the school year, and they may have more time to focus on setting up a will or a trust. However, there are multiple issues to consider with respect to the creation of an estate plan during the summer.

If you are planning a trip with your family, whether you are traveling to another state or a different country, it may be especially important to ensure that your estate plan is squared away beforehand, especially if you need to account for potential risks that you may encounter while on vacation. Moreover, you may be unable to handle estate-related issues during your trip, and you may be able to enjoy your vacation with the knowledge that you have taken care of your estate plan.

How can you reduce estate taxes for loved ones?

As a resident of Illinois who is trying to decide how to handle matters of your future passing and how it will impact your loved ones, you will surely have a lot to decide. We at Zapolis & Associates, P.C., are here to help you during this decision-making process. Today, we will take a look at some of the things you can do to reduce the estate taxes your loved ones may have to pay.

Estate taxes can be a huge blow to anyone financially. They take up potentially up to 55 percent of the assets while the estate is being handled, and it must usually be paid off within nine months of your passing. This can put a huge strain on the person or people who have been left behind to handle your estate matters.

What are the differences in an irrevocable and revocable trust?

Illinois families who are trying to settle their assets for after they die may want to learn more about a trust. Investopedia defines a living trust as the same thing as a revocable trust, but an irrevocable trust is also an option. Before you make choices with a lifetime of assets and wealth, it is important that you understand the difference.

A trust is set up during your lifetime and can be set up in any way you feel is appropriate. It is used to manage your assets as a separate legal entity. You place your assets in a trust, and they are then managed by a trustee, who is a third party you have chosen. Investments are managed by the trustee and once you die, all distributions are handled by the trustee. They do have to distribute your assets in the way that you specified.

Talking about a special needs trust with your family

If someone in your family has special needs, your entire family may be concerned about their well-being and worried about their future. We understand how worrisome these issues can be, but there are a number of ways that people can help ensure that loved ones with special needs are taken care of in the years ahead. For example, special needs trusts can be very beneficial in this regard, allowing your loved one with special needs to retain eligibility for government assistance while also receiving assets from your trust. However, it may be necessary to go over this option with your family members.

You may benefit from talking to your spouse, your children and other relatives about your special needs trust. Communication can help clear up confusion and provide peace of mind for the entire family. Moreover, you may benefit from speaking to a knowledgeable legal professional about the ins and outs of a special needs trust and how this option could benefit your loved one. You should have a solid understanding of the ins and outs of special needs trust and familiarize yourself with the process of creating one of these trusts.

What is caregiver burnout?

As your loved one's guardian, you're most likely this person's primary caregiver. While this is an essential role to fill, many family caregivers find themselves overburdened with daily responsibilities, from help with grooming to meal preparation and virtually everything in between. This can lead to a condition known as caregiver burnout, which impacts your health and well-being when left unchecked. The Cleveland Clinic explains why burnout happens and what you can do to avoid it. 

The primary reason for caregiver burnout is lack of assistance. Perhaps you can't afford respite care or the rest of your family are unwilling to help care for your loved one. This puts an unbelievable strain on the primary caregiver, who may sacrifice her own health and well-being to ensure her loved one is being properly cared for. A person may also assume full responsibility for providing care, and may even turn away help when it's offered. It can also be disheartening to watch a person you love suffer from a devastating illness.

How do I keep the family business in the family?

If you have started a successful business in Illinois, it is no surprise that you would want to keep it in the family. After all, the family business is your legacy. When managed correctly, it can continue to provide a steady source of income for the family, generation after generation.

To achieve this, you will need to ensure the business successfully passes to the next generation. According to CNBC, the first step is creating a sound succession plan. This succession plan should name who will lead the business if the current leader resigns, becomes incapacitated or passes away.

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Zapolis & Associates, P.C.
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Mokena, IL 60448

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