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DuPage County estate planning lawyersEstate planning is a complex and highly personalized process (at least it should be), and that means that no two estate plans are exactly the same. However, there are similarities and generalized information that one can use to determine which estate planning option may be most appropriate for their situation.

Consider, for example, the comparison of a will and living trust. Each strategy works the same, regardless of your situation, but your situation may warrant that you use one document or the other. Also, there may be certain scenarios in which both strategies are needed. Learn more about when this may occur, and discover how our seasoned estate planning lawyers can assist you in developing an estate plan that suits your needs.

Comparing Wills and Living Trusts


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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When people die with wills there are still accounts to settle. Probate is a court process which distributes and manages your estate according to your terms. It sounds like it should be an easy transition but in reality probate can take anywhere between 3 months to 2 years.

There are also costs associated with probate proceedings. The list of costs comprises; appraisal fees, bond premiums, attorney and accountant fees, executor's fees, publication costs for legal notices, and court costs. In Illinois, there are numerous options available to make this transition easier for your loved ones by avoiding probate altogether.

Living trusts offer a way to avoid probate for nearly every asset. It requires a trust document which is similar to a will. This document names a trustee who will be responsible for transferring your estate to your beneficiaries and avoid probate.

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