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Mokena Estate Planning And Probate Blog

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

What can you accomplish with an irrevocable living trust?

If you, like many people across Illinois, are working to get your ducks in a row with regard to estate planning, you may be trying to figure out the best way to preserve your wealth and assets for future generations. While there is a wide variety of steps you can take to accomplish your various needs, one solid estate planning strategy you may want to consider is to establish what is known as an irrevocable living trust.

Per the Motley Fool, an irrevocable living trust differs from a revocable trust in that, once you create it, you cannot change it. There are, however, numerous benefits that come with establishing this type of trust, making it a popular choice among many who desire to safeguard hard-earned assets for future generations.

Can a trustee delegate investment authority?

The main purpose that many in Mokena have for setting up trusts is to help generate income for beneficiaries. That income typically comes through investments made using trust property and/or assets. The requirements placed on trustees by the Prudent Investor Rule have been detailed on this blog in the past. Yet what of the trustee managing the trust that you are a party to does have expertise in investing. Do you want him or her making decision that could potentially impact what could be your income? 

In cases where a trustee doubts his or her ability to consistently make sound investment decisions, he or she can delegate investment authority to another. Again, however, there are guidelines regulating this delegation to ensure it is done property. You may want to familiarize yourself with them in order to hold your trustee accountable

What happens to my business when I die?

Although thinking about your own mortality can be a difficult and stressful topic, if you are a business owner, it is a smart business decision. If you die without having considered what will become of your business upon your death, then all your hard work building your business could be lost and squandered without your control.

The importance of advance planning for business succession cannot be overstated. It is something that a qualified estate planning attorney can assist you with, and it can be one of the most strategic and valuable investments you make in the future health of your business.

Making smart financial decisions during your divorce

Once you and your partner have made the decision to pursue a divorce in Illinois, you face an entirely new set of challenges as you work toward living life as an independent person again. One of the trickiest parts will be separating the finances between you and your ex. This usually includes retirement accounts, investments and assets that have accumulated throughout the marriage. Fortunately, there are things you can do to adequately prepare yourself to be independent, as well as put yourself on the right track to have financial security. 

According to U.S. News, one of the very first steps you should take is to organize all of the important financial documents that you have. These include everything from tax forms, to appraisals and even banking and credit card statements. Compile these documents in a place where they are easily accessible to you for reference. Other things you can do include the following:

  • Assess your retirement plans and any estate plans that you have made. Review who you have listed as beneficiaries and make note of the places that need your attention. 
  • Be aware of what your credit score is. This is valuable as you begin to make independent financial decisions such as getting your own place to live or buying a new car.
  • Make a budget that reflects how much money you have available to spend. As you adjust to your new financial limitations, it may be wise to reduce your spending and reassess which necessities are priorities. 

What if the person named in my trust enters the military?

Once you have put your assets into trust and assigned a trustee among your children, the expectation is that your trustee will be able to successfully handle succession of business affairs. Yet if your trustee is called away to active military service or chooses to enlist in the military, what happens to the trust you set up if you are not alive to administer changes to the trust and appointment of a new trustee?

In this case, the Trustees' Emergency Act takes effect. Illinois legislature explains that the Trustees' Emergency Act allows any trustee or co-trustee in active war service may file to appoint a successor trustee to manage the trust and its execution during the wartime absence of the primary trustee due to overseas service, internment or other affairs. This means essentially appointing a legally recognized successor to handle the trust during the period of active war service, with the understanding that the successor trustee will attempt to execute the trust according with any wishes and expectations laid out within the trust.

The benefits of a living trust

When it comes to advance planning for your later years as well as planning for your loved ones after your death, it is important to have an effective and strategic estate plan in place. Unfortunately, many people do not think about comprehensive estate planning far enough in advance. 

A living trust is an important part of a good estate plan. It is important to understand not only what a living trust is and how it works but also the benefits it could provide in your particular situation.

What Are Some Different Types of Trusts?

If you're currently involved in the estate planning process in Illinois, you've most likely considered establishing a trust. While this estate planning tool can be highly useful, it helps to understand the different types of trusts to ensure you make the right decision. CNN.com offers the following guidance on the difference types of trusts available and why they might be right for you. 

Revocable Trusts

Proving reduced capacity led to undue influence

While we have many potential clients approach us at Zapolis & Associates, P.C., as the beneficiaries-- or not, as the case may be-- of disadvantageous wills, few of these situations involve undue influence. This does not mean that all wills written by competent grantors in Illinois are valid: far from it.

To determine whether a court might find a will invalid due to undue influence, it is important to realize that influence alone is typically not enough. More often than not, when we encounter a case in which the court affirms a will contest on the grounds of the grantor being influenced inappropriately, there is also a correlated issue of testamentary incapacity.

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