Why You Need an Estate Plan Even If You Do Not Have Children

Web Admin - Thursday, January 11, 2018
Palatine estate planning lawyerFinancial advisors and attorneys often tell their clients that estate planning is an essential part of anyone’s financial plan, ensuring that their assets are correctly distributed to their heirs after their death. But how does this apply to people who do not have any children? If you are not concerned with providing for your descendants after you are gone, you may not feel that an estate plan is necessary. However, it is still important to have a plan in place that will protect your assets both before and after your death.

Creating a Will

When someone dies intestate (without a last will and testament in place), their assets will be distributed according to Illinois’ intestate succession laws. If someone has no descendants, their entire estate will go to their spouse. If they do not have a spouse, the estate will be divided among their parents and siblings, or among their closest surviving relatives. If no relatives can be located, the estate will go to the State of Illinois.

Even if you do not have children, you will likely want to have some say in who will inherit your property after you die. Creating a valid last will and testament will ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes, whether you plan to leave them to your spouse, family members, friends, or charitable organizations.

Another benefit of a will is that it names an executor who will handle the distribution of your property to your heirs. Without a will in place, a probate court will appoint an administrator of your estate, and extensive court proceedings may be necessary to resolve any disputes over the distribution of your assets. Creating a will that clarifies your intentions and names a person you trust to oversee your estate will ensure that your wishes are carried out correctly.

Holding Assets in a Living Trust

Another benefit that estate planning can provide is ensuring that you will have the financial resources you need as you near the end of your life. A living trust is a good way to protect your assets, giving you control over them while also specifying who will handle them and how they should be used to care for you if you should ever become incapacitated or disabled, as well as how they should be distributed after your death.

One of the key benefits of a trust is that it simplifies the distribution of property after your death, since assets held in a trust are not subject to probate. In addition, while the contents of a will are part of the public record, a trust is confidential, providing privacy to both you and your heirs.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Estate Planning Attorney

If you want to know more about the benefits that estate planning can provide to you and your loved ones, the attorneys at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC can help you understand the benefits of a will or trust and work with you to draft the documents that give you and your family the financial security you need. Contact our Palatine estate planning lawyers today at 847-934-6000 to schedule a personalized consultation.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


The Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument: What is It, and Why Do You Need It?

Web Admin - Monday, July 24, 2017

Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneysOne of the more frustrating aspects of estate planning is the risk of probate. In fact, most estate owners will do anything they can to prevent it from happening. They know that it can lower the estate’s overall value, and they would prefer that those assets go to their beneficiaries. If one of the items they want to transfer upon death is real estate, owners can opt for the Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI). What is this estate planning document, and when should you use it? The following information explains, and it provides details on how to determine if it may be appropriate for your estate planning needs.

What is the Transfer on Death Instrument?

Covered under the Illinois Residential Real Property Transfer Act, TODI documents lets owners transfer real estate property to their beneficiaries upon death, without the risk of probate. It does this through a non-testamentary transfer. Able to be used by single and joint owners, these documents have many of the same requirements as will drafting (owner must be of sound mind and not under duress, document must be prepared by the owner or an attorney, etc.), but they do not necessarily replace a will for owners with expansive estates.

Meeting the Validity Requirements

A Transfer on Death Instrument may be signed either by a single owner, or jointly. Keep in mind that it does not have to be signed by all owners, but it does not remove joint tenancy if another owner has not signed it. A TODI must also comply with all deed requirements, and it must state that the property transfers upon the owner’s death (or owners’, if joint signed). Further, the document must be recorded in the county or counties in which the property is located. Should the owner ever want to revoke the TODI, they are permitted to do so. However, if the TODI is joint signed, both parties must revoke the transfer to be considered a valid revocation.

Should You Use One?

There are many complexities and nuances in estate planning, and any one of them could determine whether a TODI is right for your situation. As such, it is highly recommended that estate owners seek legal assistance with their estate planning needs. Contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. Skilled and experienced, we can help you find the creative solution that is most suitable for your needs. Schedule a personalized consultation with our Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyers to learn more. Call 847-934-6000 today.

About the Author: Attorney Jay Andrew is a founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. He is a graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law and has been practicing in estate planning, probate, trust administration, real estate law, residential/ commercial leasing, contracts, and civil litigation. Since 2005, Jay has been a Chair of the Mock Trial Committee for the Annual Northwest Suburban Bar Association High School Mock Trial Invitation which serves over 240 local Illinois students each year.


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