– Robert F.
Regardless of the size of your estate, a thoughtful estate plan is necessary for peace of mind and the assurance that your family will be as secure as possible after your death. A small investment of time and money now will pay huge returns in minimizing uncertainty and maximizing the value of your estate when it passes to your beneficiaries. Especially for those who have family members who rely on you for support, preserving and protecting your assets for transfer after your death should be a top priority.
Last Will and Testament. Every estate plan should include a Will, which clearly sets forth the intentions of the decedent regarding who he wishes to act as his executor, who will inherit his estate, and who will become the guardian of his minor children.
Generational Estate Planning. We provide clients with sophisticated estate planning strategies, which seek to protect assets from individuals or family businesses as they pass from one generation to the next. For estates that are valued in excess of $5,250,000, Congress has placed a 35 percent flat-tax on “generation skipping” transfers, which include any transfer of assets to a family member who is two more generations removed from the grantor, or to non-family members who are more than 37.5 years younger than the transferor. Protecting these assets requires careful and sophisticated planning and the creative use of trusts and other legal instruments.
Nontraditional Family Estate Planning. Nontraditional families with step-parents and step-children may require special consideration in developing an estate plan that will reflect the intentions of the transferor.
Trusts. Trusts are legal instruments by which the owner of property or assets, known as the “grantor,” transfers his assets to a trust and then designates a “trustee” to administer and manage the assets for the benefit of his “beneficiaries.” Living Trusts can be created and funded during the grantor’s life-time. Usually, the grantor of a living trust will designate himself as both the trustee and the beneficiary. At the time of his death, the assets can either remain in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries or be distributed according to the terms of the trust.
Living trusts are “revocable” trusts, which can be changed by the grantor, and which are generally subject to the estate tax. “Irrevocable” trusts, on the other hand, cannot be changed once created and they are generally not subject to the estate tax. Trusts offer some advantages over Wills. Specifically, the assets that are held in a trust are not subject to probate so they can be distributed more quickly and with fewer costs than those assets that pass through probate. In addition, trust assets can be kept private and confidential, unlike assets that pass through probate and become a part of the public record.
Power of Attorney. A power of attorney is a legal document, which designates the person who can speak for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make your own decisions.
Qualified Personal Residence Trust. A Qualified Personal Residence Trust (“QPRT”) can provide significant estate tax savings for large estates. The owner of an estate puts title to his home in the name of the trustee of his irrevocable QPRT. The terms of the trust allow the owner to live in the home for a specified period of time, and at the end of that period, the property automatically passes to the beneficiaries. The tax savings comes from the reduced value of the estate at the time of the transfer. The IRS allows the value of the estate to be determined at the time of the transfer to the QPRT, so the value is locked-in several years before the time that estate is to pass to the beneficiaries. In addition, the value of the home is further reduced by existence of the retention period provision, which causes the estate to be valued at less than fair market value.
Living Will. Living Wills and other advanced directives designate how you are to be treated in the event of medical incapacitation.
Trust Funding and Administration. We assist clients with establishing and funding trusts and with trust administration.
Contact Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella today to speak to a knowledgeable estate-planning attorney. Your DGAA attorney will provide you with sophisticated, personal estate planning to maximize the value of your estate as it passes to your beneficiaries. We have offices in Chicago and Cook County, and we serve clients throughout the greater Chicagoland area including Arlington Heights, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Inverness, Schaumburg, and Barrington.