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Your Downers Grove Estate Planning Attorney Explains How Wills and Trusts can Help Your Family
Creating the appropriate Will or Trust for you and your family.

Pen laying on top of a Will for estate planning

• Why a Will is important for you? What is the difference between a Will and a Trust?
• Providing for a family member who is disabled. What is the difference between first and third party special needs trusts? When will the ABLE accounts be available and how do they work?
• providing direction for the guardianship of your minor children
• providing directions for the funds you leave your children
• what are Powers of Attorney

Estate Planning for Families
Our law firm represents individuals and families with estate planning to prepare for the future. The use of wills, living wills and revocable living trusts will give you peace of mind in knowing your intentions will be carried out in the event you become ill, and your money and property will go to your loved ones in accordance with your own wishes after death.

Some people think planning for your family is only necessary for the very wealthy. It is not your income level that determines whether or not you would benefit from a will or trust. Our office can explain your legal options for estate planning, and we will draft the necessary documents to plan your future. If you or a family member is disabled, proper estate planning allows you to give medical directions and ensures a gift or inheritance will not prevent you or a loved one from receiving government benefits and services.

Properly drafted Powers of Attorney will ensure your health and finances are handled as you direct in the event that you are temporarily or permanently unable to make decisions about your health and/or finances.
What Are Testamentary Wills, Living Wills and Powers of Attorney?

A testamentary will is the type of will that most people are familiar with and understand. A will is a legal document that distributes your property after death. A will may also name a guardian for minor children or disabled adult children. If you should pass away without a will your property will be distributed to heirs pursuant to the laws of the state.

You may prefer to distribute property according to your own wishes and want to name a trusted relative or friend to care for your children – a testamentary will can help you accomplish this.

A living will is also called an Advance Directive in Illinois. This document allows you to make medical decisions ahead of time, so if you become ill to a point where you cannot speak or make your own decisions, your relatives and your doctor will know how to proceed with your medical care. Although most people would rather not think about this subject, having a living will greatly helps families faced with difficult decisions. If you change your mind about your living will later in life, you can change it or revoke it at any time.

A power of attorney allows you to name a trusted person to make both medical and financial decisions in the event you are unable to make decisions on your own. Powers of attorney often accompany a living will.

Different Kinds of Trusts for Different Kinds of Families
A trust is a legal vehicle in which you can place money or property and hold it safe for later distribution to another person, a charity or a company. You retain control of all your property while you are living. You are the initial beneficiary. The person or entity that receives the trust property becomes the beneficiary. A revocable trust, or revocable living trust, distributes your property after death without the assets passing through the probate process. By avoiding probate, beneficiaries may receive the property quickly and easily, as the trustee will carry out the trust’s stated intentions. It also allows you a degree of privacy regarding how things are distributed.

A special needs trust, also called a supplementary needs trust or SSI trust, is created for an adult or child with a disability. Those who qualify for Supplementary Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid must not have income or assets over a certain monetary limit, and receiving an inheritance may make Social Security recipients lose their benefits. However, if you place money or an inheritance in a special needs fund rather than handing it over outright, because the money is in a specially designed trust, it will not affect your loved one’s ability to receive Social Security benefits. A special needs trust can create peace of mind for parents who worry what will happen to their disabled child after they are gone.

This is not a complete list of available estate planning options. We are happy to discuss estate planning at a consultation to discern what type of will or trust will best suit your and your family’s unique needs. Contact our office today to set up a consultation and feel confident in knowing you are prepared no matter what the future may hold.

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