3 Reasons Why a Living Trust Is More Beneficial Than Just a Will

Web Admin - Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Des Plaines living trust lawyerIf you wish to leave a legacy to your children or other beneficiaries after your death, it is imperative that you have an estate plan that will ensure prompt and accurate distribution of your assets. Many people think that writing a will is the best way to do this. However, while a will is important, putting your assets into a revocable living trust can provide several additional benefits.

Avoid the Illinois Probate Process 

In order to distribute assets according to the terms of a will, the will must go through the probate process. This involves filing various court documents required by law to establish the value of each asset and to re-title each asset from the deceased’s name to the recipient’s name. This can be a long, drawn-out process.

Secure Adult Heirs’ Immediate Access to the Estate

One of probate’s most serious drawbacks is the freezing of assets. Specifically, any assets that are held solely in the name of the deceased are frozen upon their death. Imagine a married couple who amassed several large investment and retirement accounts and multiple pieces of real estate during their lifetime. Upon the death of both spouses, their children cannot touch any of the assets until a probate court judge approves the will and appoints a Personal Representative to handle the estate. Leaving large investment accounts without active management can be risky.

By comparison, imagine that all of the couple’s assets had been placed in a living trust, meaning that the assets are titled in the name of the trust rather than in the name of any individual. Upon the death of the trust-maker, their designated successor has immediate access to the assets of the trust.

Secure Assets for the Long-Term Benefit of the Family

Imagine our married couple has three children and has a will. Upon the death of both spouses and probate action, the assets of the estate must be divided amongst the named heirs. Assuming the estate is to be divided equally among the three children, the inherited assets are now at risk to creditors, bankruptcy, a lawsuit, or a divorce. 

Creditors. If the married couple had all of their assets in a trust, ownership of those assets can remain titled in the name of the trust indefinitely. Because the assets are not titled in the individual children’s names, the assets are protected from creditors, even if one child files for bankruptcy or gets divorced. The beneficiaries named in the trust will have access to the assets in accordance with the directions specified in the trust documents. 

Heirs with disabilities. Upon the death of the spouses, one child (or an objective third party such as a bank) could be named as the successor trustee with directions to manage the trust in a certain way. This approach can be used to ensure that the use of the assets is prioritized in some way, such as to meet the basic needs of a child or grandchild with a disability. Keeping the assets in the trust can also serve to protect the right of a disabled heir to receive needs-based government benefits.

Underage heirs. Keeping the trust open with a successor trustee can also be beneficial for heirs who have not yet reached adulthood. When a will leaves assets to a minor, the probate court must appoint a conservator to manage the minor’s assets. Once our fictional married couple has died, there is no telling who that conservator might be and what decisions they might make. In contrast, assets left in a trust can be managed according to specific directions written into the trust. Thus, the maker of the trust can dictate when and for what purposes a youthful (or even as-yet unborn) heir can access their inheritance.

Consult a Palatine Revocable Living Trust Lawyer

A well-thought-out living trust can give you greater peace of mind and benefit your heirs in the long run. To discuss options for writing or updating a living trust, call an experienced Schaumburg living trust attorney at Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC. We have prepared living trusts for many high-asset families with complex issues of inheritance. To set up a free initial consultation, call 847-934-6000.

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.


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.


Modern Family Estate Planning – Why Use a Living Trust?

Web Admin - Friday, October 20, 2017

Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneyToday’s family looks much different than those from just 50 years ago. People no longer feel obligated to stay in a marriage that is not working, divorcees sometimes remarry, partners opt for cohabitation over remarriage, and there may be children from one marriage or both. While, in many ways, blended families are a positive thing – especially for kids – it does make estate planning much more complicated than it once was. A living trust can mitigate against many of these issues. Learn how with help from the following.

Potential Blended Family Pitfalls

People can cause some serious problems by either not having an estate plan or creating an ineffective one. The chief issue is that heirs could experience unnecessary financial difficulty while trying to muddle through the expensive and arduous probate process. Several other pitfalls must be addressed as well, however, especially in blended family estate planning. Consider some of the following possible examples:

- A father intended to leave everything to his children, but he failed to check his beneficiaries and update his estate plan. His home and other assets ended up going to his former wife. 

- A step-child expected to receive an inheritance, but the estate plan was unclear and state law does not provide for step-children. They receive nothing;

- A child inherits their father’s antique rifle, but it was promised to another child from a previous marriage;

- A husband dies and leaves his assets to his wife. When she passes away, she leaves everything to her children from a previous marriage. His children inherit nothing.

A Living Trust Can Mitigate the Risks

While it may be impossible to remove all risk of heirs fighting over an inheritance, there are several strategies that guarantors can use to mitigate against the possible damage of probate, tax consequences, family squabbles, debtors, and other common issues. The most effective tool is the living trust (revocable, irrevocable, marital, etc.). Each type works a little differently, but the primary goal is to ensure that the right person receives the right assets. Set up properly, a trust can also mitigate against spendthrift issues, ensure that even extended branches of family receive assets, and can even be specifically designated for certain expenses or needs (such as with college students, special needs children, or an ex-spouse who happens to be the other parent of your minor child). 

Why Plan Now?

No one wants to think about their death or the death of their spouse, and many dream of the death of their ex-spouse - which is why it can be easy to put off planning for it until you start to age. Sadly, not planning now can have severe consequences if an accident or incapacitation occurs to you, your spouse, or your ex-spouse. Avoid the consequences of ineffective and non-existent estate plans by contacting an experienced wills and trusts lawyer today.

At Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, we work in your family’s best interests. Dedicated and experienced, our Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneys wills and trusts attorneys can handle even the most complex of situations with skill. Call 847-934-6000 and schedule your personalized consultation 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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