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Wheaton family law attorney estate planning

Many of our clients would like the benefits of using a trust but want to retain control over their property while living. For them, a pour-over will might be exactly what they need to accomplish their estate planning goals.

This type of will transfers all remaining assets to a living trust when the testator, or creator of the will, dies. In other words, the will does not identify who will be the beneficiary of each asset. Instead, that information is contained in the trust, and assets are “poured” into the trust when the testator passes away. The successor trustee collects property and then distributes it according to the trust document.

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Lombard estate planning lawyerProbating an estate can be difficult work for the designated party. The legally assigned representative of the deceased person’s estate is known as the executor. He or she has many responsibilities, including safekeeping estate assets and determining the validity of claims. After paying off claims, the executor needs to distribute assets according to the will.

Certain estates are so small or simple that an executor might not even need to probate the estate. But for others, probate can take months of detailed, grueling work. If you have been named as an executor, you may be wondering if you can get paid. The answer is “Yes,” but the amount can be difficult to calculate.

No Percentage of the Estate

In some states, the executor can claim a percentage of the estate. For example, in Florida, the executor is entitled to a particular percentage based on the estate’s size. If extraordinary service was required, the executor can request additional compensation.

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Lombard estate planning lawyerThe world of estate planning can be complicated, to say the least. If you have started researching your estate planning options, you may understandably be feeling overwhelmed. It can be challenging to know which types of estate planning tools will best help you meet your financial goals. You may have already decided to create a last will and testament but worry that a will alone will not satisfy all of your needs. One option to consider is a testamentary trust or “will trust.” For help determining which estate planning tools are best for your unique situation, speak with an experienced estate planning attorney.

What is a Testamentary Trust?

A testamentary trust is a trust that is in conjunction with a will. If an individual decides to create a testamentary trust, he or she will assign a trustee to manage and distribute his or her assets to the designated beneficiaries as per the directions in his or her will. Unlike a living trust, a testamentary trust does not go into effect until the trust maker, also called the trustor or grantor, passes away. Upon the trustor’s death, the executor of the estate is instructed by the trust provision in the will to create the trust. Although trusts typically avoid probate, the will must still go through the probate process in order for the authenticity of the will to be confirmed.

After probate, the trust goes into effect and the executor transfers the estate assets to the trust. The trust assets often include proceeds from the trustor’s life insurance policy or other sources as well. The trustee then manages the property owned by the trust until the trust expires and the property is distributed to the beneficiaries.

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Lombard trusts attorneysA trust is an estate planning tool that can hold property for the benefit of beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts that can serve a wide range of purposes. Trusts fall into two main categories: revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. A revocable trust is created by a grantor during his or her lifetime and may then be modified or revoked at any time. Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, cannot be charged or revoked after their creation. However, there are certain situations in which an irrevocable trust can be modified or terminated.

Benefits of an Irrevocable Trust

Many people choose to use a trust to transfer assets to a beneficiaries instead of a will. The person who makes the will, called the grantor, transfers property to the trust and designates a trustee to manage the trust. Once the grantor passes away, the assets held by the trust are distributed to beneficiaries. The beneficiaries of a trust may be family members, friends, or entities such as nonprofit organizations. When the grantor transfers assets to an irrevocable trust, he or she relinquishes control of these assets and the assets are now owned by the trust. Because the assets are no longer owned by the grantor, they no longer influence the grantor’s tax liability or the value of his or her estate. Irrevocable trusts also offer protection from creditors and lawsuits.

Modifying an Irrevocable Trust

There are only a few different ways that an irrevocable trust may be modified or revoked. The trustee or beneficiary of a trust may petition the court to request a trust modification or revocation. The Illinois Virtual Representation Statute allows certain trustees and beneficiaries to alter an irrevocable trust without having to go through the court. The easiest and most straightforward way to change or revoke a trust is for the grantor and all potential beneficiaries to agree to the change and sign a consent modification document. A grantor may also be able to petition the court to revoke a trust based on mistake. For example, if there is evidence that the grantor was told that the trust would be revocable, the court may allow the trust to be terminated.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_digital-assets-tablet-estate-planning.jpgThe last several decades have involved some of the most significant technological advances in all of human history. Most people now own cell phones that can take pictures and video, store electronic files, access the internet, and much more. You may use your cell phone, tablet, or computer to pay your bills, interact with friends and family on social media, communicate with colleagues via email, and complete many other responsibilities. Have you ever considered what will happen to this digital information if you become incapacitated or pass away? Through a comprehensive estate plan, you can account for digital items like photographs, files, and other electronic assets.

Start by Listing All of your Important Digital Assets and Expenses

Only about 40 percent of Americans have a will or any other estate planning tools in place. There are many different reasons that people procrastinate estate planning. Some are simply overwhelmed and unsure of where to even start. Planning for your digital assets can be especially challenging if you are not particularly “tech savvy.”

Fortunately, you do not need to be a computer expert in order to create an estate plan that accounts for digital assets. The first step you should take is to inventory all of the online accounts and files that are important to you. You may want to list your:

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