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Arlington Heights Estate Planning Attorneys

Experienced Lawyers Protecting Your Family

Estate planning is an important process that can help ensure that your wishes will be carried out after you pass away. In addition to helping you make sure your loved ones will be taken care of, a comprehensive estate plan can protect your assets and provide for your own needs. An estate plan can address issues related to your long-term care and minimize the tax burden on your heirs when they inherit your assets. Having an estate plan in place can provide peace of mind for you and your family through knowing that your wishes will be respected both during your life and after you are gone.

The estate planning services offered by Dickler, Kahn, Slowikowski & Zavell, Ltd. are extensive and comprehensive, and we work to provide our clients with the assurance that all of their needs have been addressed. Our attorneys provide guidance on the best steps to take when creating a thorough estate plan, and we ensure that all legal documents are created and executed correctly. Our goal is to help you make decisions and put arrangements in place that will meet your immediate needs while preserving and protecting the assets that you wish to pass on to future generations.

Our estate planning solutions can help you protect your assets throughout your life, minimize gift and estate taxes, and prudently plan for incapacity or death. From simple wills to complex trusts, we take pride in offering customized estate planning solutions tailored to each family's particular needs. We recognize that estate planning is a deeply personal process that requires thoughtful consideration and diligence. With our knowledge of the laws that affect families in these situations, as well as our experience in business law, real estate law, and other areas of the law that can affect estate plans, we can provide the guidance you need.

Creating or Updating a Will

A last will and testament is one of the most foundational components of any estate plan. This document may be used to outline your wishes regarding the distribution of assets to your heirs, to appoint guardians for your minor children, and to provide other instructions or guidance on how matters should be handled following your death. Without a valid will in place, the assets you own will be divided among your heirs according to state laws, and the decisions made about who will receive which assets may go against what you would have wanted.

Your will must be a written document, and it must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. It will name a person who you wish to serve as the executor of your estate, such as a trusted family member or friend. By setting down your wishes regarding the allocation of the property you own to different heirs, you can make sure your loved ones will be provided for, and you can help your family avoid confusion or disagreements about your wishes.

Our attorneys can assist you in creating a will that accurately reflects your wishes, and we can ensure that the document will be legally valid in accordance with the applicable state laws. We can also help you update an existing will by creating and executing a document known as a codicil. By taking the time to set down your wishes and address your loved ones' needs, you can make sure your family will be prepared for the future.

Establishing Different Types of Trusts

In addition to a will, an estate plan can make use of different types of trusts to manage, protect, and distribute assets. A trust is a legal entity created to hold and manage assets for the benefit of one or more individuals or organizations. The person who creates a trust is known as the grantor or settlor, and they will name a trustee who will be responsible for managing the trust's assets. The trustee will be required to distribute assets in the trust to beneficiaries according to specific instructions provided by the grantor.

Trusts can offer estate planning solutions that are useful for addressing issues related to estate taxes, asset protection, long-term care, charitable donations, and loved ones with special needs. They may allow assets to be distributed to beneficiaries more quickly and efficiently than through other methods. They are also confidential, which can help a family maintain privacy when addressing inheritances or other financial concerns.

Our attorneys can explain the options available when establishing trusts. Types of trusts that may be used for different purposes include:

  • Living trusts - A revocable trust may be used to ensure that you can manage and maintain control of your assets while making arrangements to distribute them to your beneficiaries. With a living trust, you may name yourself as the trustee, and you can also be a beneficiary, allowing you to use your assets to provide for your needs. You will name a successor trustee who will assume control of the trust in the event of your death or incapacitation, and assets can be distributed to other beneficiaries at any time, either while you are still alive or after your death. Since the trust is revocable, its terms can be updated at any time, which will provide you with flexibility and control as you determine how to manage and use your assets.
  • Irrevocable trusts - These types of trusts may be used to protect assets and place them beyond the reach of creditors or abusive family members, and they can also help minimize estate taxes. The terms of an irrevocable trust cannot be modified, and assets in the trust cannot be transferred. This can ensure that a grantor's wishes will be followed correctly when assets are distributed to beneficiaries.
  • Charitable trusts - These trusts are established for charitable purposes, and they may provide tax benefits while allowing for assets to be used to support worthy causes or organizations. The assets held in these trusts may also be used to provide for the needs of the grantor or other loved ones. With a charitable lead trust, assets can be donated to a charity for a specified period of time, after which the remaining assets in the trust can be transferred to other beneficiaries. A charitable remainder trust will allow you to receive distributions during your lifetime, guaranteeing you a steady income stream, and the remaining assets may be donated to a charity after your death.
  • Special needs trusts - These trusts may be used to provide for the needs of individuals with physical or mental disabilities. A special needs trust will allow assets to be managed in a way that does not negatively impact an individual's eligibility for government benefits, while still providing them with access to funds that can help cover their ongoing needs and improve their quality of life.
  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs) - The assets held in these trusts are comprised of real estate investment properties, and they may provide tax benefits while allowing investors to participate in the ownership and management of real estate assets. These trusts can be used to manage property investments while also providing income distributions to beneficiaries in accordance with the grantor's instructions.
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts (ILITs) - These trusts can be used to protect life insurance proceeds from estate taxes and other liabilities. They can also provide beneficiaries with access to a larger amount of assets than would otherwise be available, which can help them meet their financial needs after the grantor's death.

Estate Planning for Business Owners

If you own a business, you may have some unique concerns that will need to be addressed as you create an estate plan. In addition to ensuring that the assets you own will be distributed to your heirs correctly, you may also need to make arrangements to ensure that your business will be able to continue operating after you are gone. With our understanding of issues related to business law, we can ensure that a family business will be addressed correctly in your estate plan.

Business succession planning may be one of your main concerns during the estate planning process. By creating a succession plan, you can ensure that your business will be passed on to a successor who will be able to carry on your legacy and continue operating the business successfully for many years to come. If you have business partners, you may make arrangements to have them assume ownership of your share of the business, or you may take steps to have a family member or another party take control of the business assets you own. In addition to addressing what will happen in the event of your death, a succession plan can also be used to determine how ownership of a business will be handled after you retire or leave the company for other reasons.

Creating Powers of Attorney

An estate plan can make provisions for your needs during your lifetime, including in situations where you may need assistance or where you may be unable to make decisions for yourself. Powers of attorney will allow you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacity. That is, if you are unconscious or if you experience medical issues that affect your ability to communicate your desires to others, the agent named in a power of attorney will be able to decide how certain issues will be handled.

Powers of attorney come in two general types. A power of attorney for property will allow you to name someone to handle financial matters, such as paying bills, managing a family business, applying for benefits, and addressing issues related to insurance or the investment of your assets. With a power of attorney for healthcare, you can appoint an individual who will have the legal authority to make decisions about your medical and personal care.

Depending on the terms of a power of attorney, your agent may be able to make any decisions that are necessary, or they may be limited to specific types of decisions and required to follow instructions that you have provided. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights and options when creating powers of attorney, and we will work with you to find solutions that will address your needs while protecting your rights and allowing you to have as much control over your life as possible.

Representation During Probate and Estate Administration

Following a person's death, matters related to their estate and the distribution of their assets to their heirs will usually need to be handled in probate court. An executor or personal representative of the estate will file the person's will in probate court and proceed with the probate process. This process will require them to take a full inventory of the estate's assets, notify creditors and beneficiaries, and pay expenses, debts, and taxes. The executor will then ensure that all of the decedent's assets are distributed to their beneficiaries based on the specific instructions provided in the will.

Our attorneys can provide representation for executors during the probate process. We will make sure all legal requirements are met correctly, and we will help address any issues or disputes that may arise. We can also represent beneficiaries in estate or probate litigation, and depending on the circumstances of a case, we may be able to contest the validity of a will that was filed in probate court or take steps to ensure that a decedent's wishes are carried out correctly.

Providing Guidance in Cases Involving Guardianship

In some cases, estate planning may involve the appointment of a guardian for minor children or loved ones who are incapacitated and unable to make decisions about their own care. Guardianship allows a person to have legal authority and responsibility for an adult or minor. If a person is appointed as a guardian of the estate, they will be able to manage the financial affairs of the ward. Someone who is appointed as a guardian of the person will be able to make decisions about the ward's medical and personal needs.

Our attorneys can explain the process involved in appointing a guardian, and we can ensure that the rights and interests of a ward will be protected in these situations. Whether you wish to have a guardian appointed for yourself or believe that you should be named the guardian of a child or adult, we can advise you of your options, ensure that you meet all legal requirements, and provide representation during court proceedings related to guardianship.

Contact Our Arlington Heights Estate Planning Attorneys

At our law firm, we are dedicated to helping you protect your assets and ensuring that your estate plan will meet your specific needs and goals. We will work with you to make sure you understand the tools that are available to you, and we will assist in developing a comprehensive estate plan that will meet your family's needs. Contact our office at 847-593-5595 to learn more about our estate planning services.

We work to help individuals, families, business owners, and others create estate plans and address related legal issues. We provide legal help to clients throughout Illinois, including Kankakee County, Winnebago County, Grundy County, DuPage County, Champaign County, St. Clair County, Cook County, Will County, Rock Island County, Boone County, McHenry County, Kane County, and Sangamon County.

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