What You Should Know About Probate in Illinois

IL probate lawyer, IL estate planning attorneyWhen someone dies without a will, or when heirs wish to determine the validity of a will, the decedent’s estate goes through a process known as probate. Probate can be a long and daunting process, and it may even be the source of stress when there are arguments about the estate, but understanding how it works can go a long way in helping you through the process.

Executor or Estate Administrator

During the probate process, an estate executor or administrator manages both the deceased’s assets and debts. If there is a will, this person is usually already named in the will. In the absence of a will, the court will appoint an executor (generally the closest family member). Named executors can decline their duties if they are unwilling or unable to fulfill them.

Creditors and Probate

Heirs are not the only ones that come forward during probate; creditors may also file claims to pursue unpaid debts. By law, they must do so within the fixed time period allotted to them. In addition, the IRS must be paid any and all income taxes due. All debts and taxes must still be paid prior to the distribution of any remaining assets or funds of assets. In addition, an income tax return must be filed for any assets that earn income during the probate period.

Inclusion and Exclusion of Assets

While many assets will go through probate, not all must be taken through this process. Those that do require probate typically include:

  • Assets held only in the name of the deceased
  • Jewelry, furniture, art, and any other assets that are not registered or included in the will
  • Any portion of assets held as common property with other parties.

Assets that are typically excluded from probate include:

  • Assets held in a living trust
  • Assets with already named beneficiaries, such as IRAs and life insurance policies
  • Bank account or credit union assets in which the deceased was a trustee for another party
  • Assets held in joint tenancy
  • Any assets registered in the name of the deceased as “transfer on death” or “payable on death” to another party

Speak With a Wheaton Probate Attorney

Dealing with probate and the death of a loved one is difficult enough without the added stress of family squabbles, will contests, and other related considerations. The good news is that we are here to help. Contact an experienced DuPage County estate administration lawyer at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC to get the guidance you need. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with a member of our team today.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60

 

What You Should Know About Wills and Living Trusts

Illinois estate planning attorney, Illinois will lawyer, IL trust attorney, The process of estate planning can be challenging, depending on the size and complexity of your estate and what you want done with your assets upon your death. Proper estate planning requires a level of knowledge of the various tools, methods, and strategies that are often employed. For example, it is important to understand the differences between a will and a living trust and how those differences could affect your heirs. It is also a good idea to work closely with a qualified lawyer who can provide assistance in meeting your estate planning needs.

What Is a Will?

At its most basic, a will is a legal document that allows you to specify how your assets and possessions are to be distributed. A will can also name a legal guardian for any minor children. An important characteristic of a will is that it is a revocable and amendable document that you can control until your death. It can be updated, altered, or changed to accommodate changing situations, such as the death of an heir or divorce. Keep in mind, however, that there are some major limitations with a will—particularly when it comes to the amount of control you have over your estate after your death. The tax consequences for your heirs may also be significant if your estate plan consists only of a will.

What Is a Living Trust?

Living trusts are generally more complex than wills are, but they offer you more control over your estate after death. A living trust also gives you more control over how your estate is structured prior to your death. For example, you can be the trustee of your own estate and then plan for a successor after death or incapacitation, or you can simply name another individual as the trustee from the start. Like a will, a revocable living trust can be amended, updated, or revoked for as long as the creator of the trust is alive.

Compared to a will, a living trust also provides more privacy regarding the disbursement of your estate, and, in the case of larger estates, it can reduce the tax load for your heirs. Keep in mind, however, that living trusts must be properly funded, and they can be more expensive to set up initially. Still, for those with large, complex, or potentially problematic estates, the cost of a living trust may be well worth the peace of mind the trust can provide.

Contact a Wheaton Wills and Trusts Lawyer

If you have questions about wills, trusts, or any other estate planning tool, the team at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC is ready and willing to help you. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced DuPage County estate planning attorneys today. We will work with you in finding the answers you need and the security you and your family deserve.

 

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2104&ChapterID=60

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=4001&ChapterID=61

Should I Include a No-Contest Clause in My Will?

no-contest, Wheaton estate planning attorneysThere are a number of reasons that a will or other estate planning document may be invalid. If the testator was not of sound mind due to dementia or another health condition when he or she created the will, for example, the will may not represent the testator’s true wishes. If a testator was coerced or tricked into the provisions contained in his or her will, it is also invalid. If a loved one has reason to believe that the directions contained in a deceased person’s will should not be followed, they may contest the will in court. Unfortunately, some beneficiaries may contest a will simply because they do not like the instructions contained within the will. If you are concerned that someone may challenge the validity of your will after you pass away, you may want to consider adding a “no-contest” clause.

Basics of No-Contest Clauses

There is no way to completely prevent your will from being challenged after your death. However, you can discourage beneficiaries from challenging it. A no-contest clause is a provision in a will or trust that establishes certain “penalties” if a beneficiary challenges the validity of the will or trust. For example, perhaps you are worried that one of your children will be unhappy with his or her share of your estate. You worry that he or she will contest the validity of your will in an attempt to have the will thrown out. You could include a no-contest clause that states that if a beneficiary disputes the validity of your will and loses, he or she will lose part or all of the inheritance assigned to him or her. The possibility of losing a significant inheritance can make a beneficiary think twice before challenging your will.

Limitations of an Illinois No-Contest Clause

It is important to note that a no-contest clause cannot guarantee that your will may not be contested. A beneficiary may still choose to challenge the will even at the risk of losing his or her inheritance. If the will is found to be invalid, the directions contained within the will may be disregarded and your estate may instead be distributed according to intestate law. A no-contest clause also does not discourage people who are not named as beneficiaries from challenging the will. The best way to prevent your will from being successfully challenged is to work with an experienced estate planning attorney who can ensure the validity of your will.

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Lawyer

To learn more about no-contest clauses as well as other estate planning options, contact Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Call us at today at 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with and experienced Wheaton estate planning attorney.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075500050HArt%2E+VIII&ActID=2104&ChapterID=0&SeqStart=10100000&SeqEnd=10400000