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same-sex family, Illinois Estate Planning Lawyer, blended and traditional familiesA recent survey compiled by UBS highlights the differences in the American family structure of today compared to past generations, and how those differences may affect a family's estate planning.

According to the survey, 34 percent of all high-net-worth investors live in modern families and 35 percent live in traditional families. However, nearly two-thirds of those who participated in the survey felt that financial advice is targeted to only traditional families.

The survey classified a modern family as one consisting of same-sex couples, one in which children were living in the home from prior relationships, or a home with parents and adult children living together.

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title of property, Illinois Estate Planning LawyerWhen a person is purchasing a home, it will need to be decided how he or she wants to hold title of the property at the closing. There are several options from which homeowners can choose; however, it is important to understand that any chosen option may affect what happens to that property in the event of the owner's death.

Each of the choices have both positive and negative aspects. The following provides a general overview of each option, but it is always beneficial to discuss the options with a qualified estate planning attorney prior to making any legal decision.

Sole Ownership

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estate planning and prenuptial agreements, estate planning in Illinois, Illinois Estate Planning LawyerWhen people hear the words prenuptial agreement, they usually think of beginnings—the beginning of a new life together. Estate planning usually brings to mind then end—the end of life. However, these two phrases should really go hand-in-hand, especially when there is a family business involved.

It can be devastating to parents who have worked hard all of their lives to build up the family business to leave to their adult child, only to see half—or more—of that business lost to a child's spouse in a messy divorce.

A prenuptial agreement can be one of the strongest legal documents in estate planning for protecting a family business if a marriage ends in divorce. A prenuptial agreement is essentially a binding contract between spouses which clearly spells out how a marital estate will be divided in the event of divorce. An agreement can also detail what will happen to an estate in the event of a spouse's death.

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families fight over inheritance, Illinois estate planning lawyer, family inheritance, estate planning, financial assetsAccording to projected statistics, more than $30 trillion will be passed from the baby boom generation (those born between the years 1946 to 1964) to their children and other heirs. How those baby boomers handle their estate planning could make a big difference in how much of their assets go to their heirs and how much is eaten up in legal battles.

A study that spanned over twenty years revealed that almost 70 percent of families lose a portion of their inheritance due to some kind of fight over the estate in which they are inheriting. And as some legal advisors point out, the battles are not always about money. Often, items such as a piece of jewelry or other heirloom can be in the middle of a contested battle between heirs.

One of the best ways a person has to help ensure that there will not be a legal fight over their estate once he or she has passed is to make sure their specific wishes have been clearly spelt out in a will, as well as to their heirs. A good way to ensure nothing is overlooked is to make a list of all financial assets and what should be given to whom. Additionally, include not only bank and savings accounts, but also brokerage and retirement savings accounts, and life insurance policies. Next on the list should be any real estate you own, as well as any other expensive property, including jewelry, furniture, heirlooms, art and clothing.

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DuPage County estate planning lawyer, Illinois estate planning lawyer, retirement fund, retirement plan, retirement planning, retirement savingsEstate planning covers several other aspects besides deciding what will happen to your assets once you are gone. Planning correctly can help to build and maintain those assets for the future, such as retirement. And, it is never too early to start estate planning.

One of the aspects in which many people fail to plan for is exactly how much will they need to have saved in order to enjoy retirement. However, determining the age in which you want to retire is the first step. To begin, make an estimate calculation regarding how much you think you will need to live on and then factor in what your approximate Social Security benefit will be.

It is also important to factor in life events in your planning. College tuition for children is a big expense, so you need to determine when and how much you anticipate tuition will be. You also need to look at whether or not you will still be living in your current home and will you be making mortgage payments when you retire.

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