Creating an estate plan is something Illinois residents should focus on, especially when there is a business involved. Having a plan in place for how your assets, debts and business divide upon your death may stop infighting between heirs.
Drafting an estate plan requires intense thought and an eye toward how you want to pass your legacy on to your family. One thing you can do to make the aftermath of your death easier on them is to create a plan that avoids the probate process, if possible. These three tools may help keep your heirs from having to endure the sometimes-lengthy probate route.
1. Create living trusts
Trusts prove crucial in seamlessly passing items after death. They do not necessitate probate, making them a top choice for estate planning. When planning your estate, you may establish a living trust for property, assets, cash and even your business. You would add a trustee to administer the trust after your death. You then transfer anything into the trust for the benefit of yourself and the trustee. After death, the trustee becomes the automatic owner of the property and can go about carrying on the rest of your wishes.
2. Make bank accounts payable on death
When taking care of a bank account, you can add a payable-on-death designation. This notation requires you to name an individual or a trust to become the recipient of anything in that account upon your death. This helps cut through the red tape of probate and figuring out beneficiaries.
3. Designate a joint owner
During your life, you may amass property and assets held in your name, such as a home, business or accounts. By adding a joint owner to these items, that person becomes the sole holder after your death. Instead of having to wait for probate to clear up, these items remain in the possession of the person you chose to add as a co-owner.
You can take several steps to make your death easier on those you love. Getting the advice and assistance of an attorney may aid in these efforts.