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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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DuPage County wills and trusts attorneysMost estate planners assume that having a will or living trust can keep their heirs from having to go through probate. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are numerous variables, potential oversights, and often confusing elements in the estate planning process. Any one of them can result in a need for probate. Learn more about how to reduce this risk with help from the following information.

Comparing Wills and Trusts

There are two basic methods used in estate planning: wills and trusts. Wills are an effective way to address guardianship issues, but they often increase the risk of probate because they can be challenged by family members. Living trusts are less likely to result in probate. Still, it is important to realize that a living trust does not eliminate the need for a will; almost no one disburses their entire estate through a living trust. Further, there may be elements in your estate plan that cannot be covered by a living trust.

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DuPage County estate planning lawyersMillennials are some of the most driven, open-minded, and goal-oriented individuals alive today. Yet, when planning their future,  few consider estate planning. Most think they are simply too young, but nothing could be further from the truth. Learn more about why even millennials should have an estate plan, and how you can start yours.

Why Start Estate Planning Now?

If you are like most people in their 20s and 30s, you likely have a long list of endeavors you would like to pursue. From art projects to technology developments, these potential money-making ideas are worth something, long before they come to fruition. An estate plan can help protect these concepts and ideas, ensuring they are passed on to someone that can utilize them, should anything happen to you along the way.

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