At a very basic level, to create a trust in Illinois, a property owner makes an agreement or declaration for a trustee to administer his or her property. While the necessary elements are simply stated, the creation of a trust document must be carefully crafted to avoid probate when a person dies. According to the Illinois State Bar Association, a person can create a revocable living trust, which means that the trust is administered during the person’s life and after death. In a living trust, a person can also provide for contingencies such as incapacity.

A survey conducted by WealthCounsel revealed that only 17 percent of Americans have a trust. The survey found several common factors for not creating a trust. Many identified difficulty in finding a trusted adviser as a major deterrent. Others expressed the opinion that their assets and wealth were insufficient to create a trust. Finally, many stated that speaking with family members about planning for death is something they prefer not to do. Nonetheless, the advantages for creating a trust may outweigh these and other perceived obstacles.

Depending on a person’s needs, a trust may be created for business succession. Through a trust, an owner of a family business can clearly articulate the purposes, objectives, and goals of a business. A duly appointed trustee is both required and empowered to carry out the business of the trust according to the testator’s instructions. Among other benefits, a trust for business succession allows a business to carry on after the death of a principal and help avoid involving the business in the probate process.