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Lombard estate planning attorneyWhen you hear or read the phrase “estate planning,” what comes to mind? If you are like most people, you probably think about wills or maybe trusts that are used to protect a person’s property and distribute it to the person’s heirs upon his or her death. While the protection and transfer of assets are certainly a major focus of estate planning, there are other elements that deal with the quality of a person’s life as he or she gets older. Unfortunately, many of these important subjects are uncomfortable or difficult for many people to talk about, leading to assumptions and misunderstandings that can create serious problems in the future.

Deciding on a Caregiver

Most of us are hesitant to consider a time when we are no longer able get by on our own. The reality, however, is that many of us will need someone to help us with the activities of daily living, especially as we get older. A large number of American adults assume that their children will step into the role of caregiver when the time comes. In fact, according to at least one survey, about three-fourths of parents expect at least one of their children to provide physical or financial help as they get older, and 60 percent of those parents expect to be their daughter.

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Lombard estate planning attorneyMany people realize at some point in their lives that they need to start planning for a time when they are not around. It could be the addition of a new baby in the family, retirement, or a medical crisis that spurs a person’s interest in estate planning. For those seeking the cheapest estate planning process possible, using online legal document services may seem like a good idea. Although some do use these types of products with success, relying on an online service to plan your final affairs can be a risky move.

Do Not Be Fooled By a Professional-Appearing Website

Online legal document services may appear to offer the same benefits as a law firm, but they do not. These types of services do not hire attorneys, but instead “document assistants”—individuals who do not have nearly the extensive education and training an attorney has. A document assistant cannot help you choose the best legal option for your unique estate circumstances or warn you if you are making a grave mistake while creating your plans. Because the people involved in these online service websites are not lawyers, they cannot give you legal advice of any kind. In fact, the websites cannot even promise that legal documents drafted though the service will be valid or that there will be a usable result from the time, effort, or money spent on these online services.

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mistakes-man-upset-planning-failure.jpgThe true purpose of estate planning is to protect your assets and to provide for your family- even after you pass away. Planning for your future now can save your loved ones months of frustration and uncertainty in the future. There exists some misinformation regarding estate planning, and this can lead to mistakes. Those who are not aware of all their estate planning choices and the benefits and drawbacks of each choice may not be informed enough to avoid these common missteps.

Overlooking Living Trusts

Assuming that a last will and testament is the best choice for distributing assets after death is a common oversight. Although a will is more common, a revocable living trust may be the better option for some. A revocable living trust is a legal arrangement created to hold ownership of an individual's assets—similar to a will. However, assets left through a living trust do not have to pass through probate, which is the court system designed to prove the validity of a will. Probate can be lengthy and also makes the content of a will public information. The information contained in living trusts does not have to go through probate and stays private.

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DuPage County estate planning attorneysAlthough it is not necessarily a pleasant thought, even young parents who are in good health should not hesitate to start creating an estate plan. Parents of minor children need to plan for the possibility that they may pass away before their children reach adulthood. Because those under 18 years of age do not have the legal standing or rational thinking ability to make decisions about their care and finances, an adult must act on their behalf.

When parents of minor children create an estate plan, two of the concerns they should address are who will be the guardian of their children should they pass away and who will manage their children’s assets. By planning for the worst, parents can have the peace of mind knowing that if something ever happened to them, their children would be raised and cared for by individuals that the parent’s themselves selected.

Planning for the Future

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Lombard estate planning attorneyResearch shows that only about half of Americans have any estate planning documents in place. Those without a last will and testament and other critical estate planning documents risk having their estate decisions made for them if they pass away or become incapacitated. One vital piece of estate planning that is important for anyone to have is a power of attorney. A durable power of attorney is a legal document which gives someone else the authority to act on your behalf if you cannot do your yourself.

Types of Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney assigns an agent which will be responsible for the medical decisions, legal choices, personal banking, investment, insurance and real estate transactions of the person signing the document (the principal) should they become incapacitated. A special power of attorney allows the principal to be more specific. He or she can narrow down the types of choices the agent(s) can make. It is possible to have several different powers of attorney for different purposes. An individual may choose their spouse or family member to make medical decisions on their behalf, but he or she may choose another individual to make financial or business decisions in the event they are incapacitated.

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Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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