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Lombard estate planning lawyerThose with children often create an estate plan because there is this sense of responsibility—a need to ensure their children are cared for in the event of a premature death. In contrast, individuals that do not have children tend to overlook the importance of an estate plan, either because they assume they have time and do not feel the same sense of responsibility, or because they simply do not believe that one is necessary. Whatever the reason behind it, failing to create an estate plan can have devastating results.

Where Will Your Assets Go?

When you are married or have children, it is fairly easy to determine where your assets will go. If you fail to create a will and have children or a spouse, they are typically the default heirs for anything you have left behind, even if the matter has to be resolved in probate court. But, where do those assets go if you have no heirs? If you have not named a charity or individual to receive your assets, most often, your hard-earned money will end up going to the government.

Who Will Make Medical Decisions for You?

Imagine a car accident, a sudden illness—any kind of situation that could possibly leave you in a coma or unable to make your own medical decisions. Who will decide what type of treatment you should receive? Who will determine if your quality of life has diminished too greatly for you to continue living on machines? Again, when you have a spouse or children, the responsibility of this decision typically rests with family.

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Lombard estate planning lawyerFor married individuals, estate planning is typically pretty straightforward, as most assets are often allocated to a surviving spouse and/or children. However, statistics show that more people are opting for the single life with no children—either permanently or at least until later in life. This creates some important considerations when determining what to do with your savings and assets in the future.

Should You Wait to Create Your Estate Plan?

It can be tempting to wait to create your estate plan until you are married or older. However, it is important to consider the unexpected. Accidents, health conditions, and other unpredictable incidents can end your life suddenly or place you in a vulnerable medical situation. Because of this, every person over the age of 18 should create and execute appropriate estate documents, including a will, powers of attorney, and an advance medical directive such as a living will.

A large part of the importance stems from the risk of being incapable of making financial or medical decisions. However, you should also consider that, when there is no will or trust, the government takes predetermined paths that eat up valuable assets that could have gone to someone else.

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Wheaton estate planning attorney

When you are setting up your Illinois estate plan, it is important to consider more than just the laws that exist today. It is also a good idea to plan accordingly for rising interest rates. Of course, it is impossible to predict the future. However, there are some wealth-transfer strategies that could minimize the impact of estate taxes while also offering some additional tax breaks to trustees later on down the road.

Using Intra Family Loans

Some families opt to provide an intra family loan to their adult children, or they may transfer a promising investment to pass down an inheritance. Paired with a promissory note that requires the adult child to pay interest, the net returns of these investments are a tax-free transfer of wealth.

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Lombard estate planning lawyerWhen creating an estate plan, most parents have the very best of intentions in mind. By taking the time to lay out their wishes, they are usually trying to not only manage their assets but also to provide for their heirs well into the future. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of estate tax laws can lead to serious and significant mistakes—sometimes in the form of “tax bombs” for their children and grandchildren. You most likely have no intention of leaving behind unpleasant surprises for your heirs, so it is important to work closely with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that everything is arranged properly.

Tax Levies Will Vary

Tax levies—or the amount owed by an heir after receiving an inheritance or gift—can vary drastically, depending on a number of factors. Such factors include the size and value of the inheritance and how the asset was transferred to the heir. If, for example, a parent passes down an asset before his or her death, hoping to protect the asset from long-term health care costs or to avoid having the asset pass through probate court, the item can usually be considered a gift. Depending on the value of the gift at the time of the transfer and the amount originally paid for the item, the child may be required to pay gift taxes on the difference. The bigger the difference, and the higher the value of the item, the bigger that tax will likely be.

Advance Preparation May Protect Assets

Instead of using the gifting process to protect large assets from probate court or being chipped away at by long-term healthcare costs, individuals can utilize other planning and preparation tools to effectively manage their estate. One such example would be the use of a revocable living trust.

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Lombard estate planning lawyerOut of all the younger people who are considering creating a will, parents are most likely to see the value and importance of this legal document. In addition to knowing where their assets will be going, they want the added security of knowing who will be caring for their children in the instance that they can no longer do so themselves. Of course, this is a very difficult decision to make. The following tips are designed to help you on your journey.

Know the Why Behind Your Will

Sometimes, even the best-intentioned parents can put off making arrangements in advance because they mistakenly assume that the person they want to care for their children will automatically step up and be given these rights. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. When there is no will (or when a guardian is not named in it), anyone can step up for the job, including extended family members that you may not consider suitable. In the event that more than one person comes forward, the judge would consider a variety of factors and then decide who will be given the responsibilities.

Accept That No One Else Will Compare to You

Probably the hardest step in choosing the right guardian for your child or children is to accept that no one will ever do the job quite the same, or as well, as you. There will be things about each person that may cause you to reconsider, but you must remember that the idea is to choose the person you feel will be best suited to responsibly, lovingly, and permanently care for your children. The following are points you may wish to consider:

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