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Wheaton wills and trusts attorneysWhile some people may be rejoicing the recent pass-through of the House's Tax Cut and Jobs Act, others may be experiencing uncertainty over the future. Sadly, this apprehension can cause those individuals to delay or even completely forgo estate planning. Learn why this is usually a poor decision, gain insight on how the bill might affect your heirs if it is passed into law, and discover what an experienced attorney can do to protect your family after your death.

The Danger of Estate Planning Delays

It can be tempting to put off estate planning, especially if you are young and healthy, but doing so can have dire consequences. Accidents occur, and even the healthiest of people can suffer a tragic illness. If one occurs and you pass away or are rendered incapacitated, you and your heirs may suffer. For example, there may be no one to make medical decisions for you, so you may be forced to endure the standard of care, despite not wanting resuscitation. Another possible consequence is that your family could be left without access to money for bills and daily expenses if you have not named a power of attorney. Thankfully, such issues can be mitigated against (and perhaps even avoided altogether) with a carefully thought-out estate plan.

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DuPage County wills and trusts attorneyMost people assume that estate planning is only needed when you are old and nearing death or retirement. Quite the opposite is true, however. In fact, adults of all ages - even those just heading off for college - should have a comprehensive estate plan in place. Learn why, discover what estate planning documents are important, and see how an experienced estate planning attorney can help you get started.

Why Estate Planning is Important for Young Adults

Young adults may not have a lot of assets or possessions to speak of; they may not even have an income, but they still need an estate plan. The reason for this is simple: like everyone else, they still run the risk of incapacitation, should an accident or injury occur. Without the proper documents in place, parents may be unable to obtain pertinent medical information about their adult child's condition or prognosis; they may also be denied the ability to make medical decisions for their child. Parents may also be denied access to their child's financial accounts, which could endanger the student's ability to return to school or dorm.

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DuPage County estate planning lawyersTalking to your family through video and letting them know your wishes once you are gone sounds like an innovative idea. At the very least, it is indicative of the times, but is such a method considered valid by the courts? Learn more about the validity of video wills, including how to determine if they may be appropriate for your estate planning needs, and discover where you can find quality legal assistance with your Illinois will or living trust.

Are Video Wills Legally Binding?

Video wills are not typically considered valid by probate courts or judges. The reasons behind this are many, but one of the biggest concerns is that a judge may be unable to determine whether the person speaking was of sound mind at the time of the video's creation. Furthermore, the judge may be unable to determine if the person was under any form of mental, physical, or emotional duress at the time that the video was made. As such, only a written and notarized will would be considered valid by the courts.

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Wheaton wills and trusts lawyersHistorically, estate planning has been overlooked by the non-wealthy. Times are changing, however. Retirees and even younger adults are starting to recognize the benefits of an effective estate plan - especially when there is a smaller estate. You see, probate can quickly eat away at the value of a moderate estate, which may lead to significant losses for beneficiaries. In situations where the only transferable item is real estate, the loss may even prevent the procurement of the asset.

Thankfully, there are some preventative strategies that you can use, including Transfer on Death Instruments (TODI) and living trusts. How do you decide which is most appropriate for your situation? The following explores these two solutions and explains where to find assistance with your Illinois estate planning needs.

Living Trusts

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Illinois estate planning lawyersWhile most married couples can benefit from estate planning, it is not a hard or critical requirement. Most often, their assets would go to their spouse upon death, and minor children remain with the surviving parent, as long as the parent does not supersede them in death or die along with them. Even medical decisions are typically deferred to the spouse if one of them becomes incapacitated. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for same-sex married couples. Learn more about the challenges that same-sex couples face in estate planning, and what you can do to protect your family, with help from the following information.

Same-Sex Couple Estate Planning Challenges

Same-sex couples may experience numerous challenges in the event of death or incapacitation of one member. Families that refuse to accept the sexual orientation of their loved one may challenge the validity of a spouse's inheritance; doctors may question the authenticity of a same-sex marriage, which can delay treatment; and even children may be temporarily removed from a loving parent if the validity of a same-sex marriage is questioned. In short, many potential areas can create post-death issues for surviving spouses in a same-sex marriage.

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