Share Your Experience

five star review
X
Blog
Lombard Office
630-426-0196
Wheaton Office
630-426-0196
Text Us Now
630-426-0196

Lombard estate planning attorneysYou have worked hard to earn the property that you currently own so it is understandable that you would want to have control over who inherits this property upon your death. Disinheritance refers to the act of purposely excluding someone from your will in particular or your estate plans in general. There are many different reasons that a person may choose to disinherit an heir. He or she may have ended his or her relationship with the heir due to abuse or conflict, have concerns about how the heir would spend inheritance funds, or simply believe that the heir is financially secure enough to miss out on an inheritance. Whatever your reasons for disinheriting an heir, doing so can sometimes prove to be a challenging legal process. For help understanding Illinois inheritance laws, drafting a last will and testament, or developing other estate plans, contact an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Disinheriting a Spouse

Through an estate plan, an individual can leave his or her property to anyone or any organization he or she chooses. However, Illinois law does not typically permit a person to disinherit his or her spouse through a will without the spouse’s consent. If a last will and testament does disinherit a spouse, the surviving spouse may be able to “renounce” the will formally. Presuming the renunciation is successful, he or she would then be entitled to a portion of the deceased spouse’s estate. If the deceased person has children, the surviving spouse may be entitled to one-third of the estate. If there are not any surviving children, the spouse may be entitled to one-half of the estate.

It is important to note, however, that an individual’s right to renounce his or her spouse’s will does not extend to living trusts or certain other estate planning documents. It should also be noted that if there is a situation in which the terms of a will conflict with the terms of a prenuptial agreement, the prenuptial agreement takes precedence.

...

Lombard estate planning attorneyGetting a divorce can sometimes make it feel as if your world has been turned upside down. Between dealing with the financial consequences of your divorce and managing child custody or spousal support concerns, you may feel like there are almost countless tasks to complete.  In all of the chaos, it can be easy to forget important estate planning considerations. Unfortunately, if a person divorces, beneficiary designations and certain other estate planning arrangements do not change automatically. You will need to update such provisions manually, and a qualified estate planning attorney can help.  

Review and Revise Your Will

Only about 40 percent of U.S. adults have a will or other estate plan in place. If you already have a will or trust that describes your property distribution wishes, you are already ahead of most Americans. However, you will want to read and update your will after divorce. According to Illinois law, any directions in your will that refer to your spouse are made void once he or she becomes your ex-spouse. However, any provisions that address inheritance for your ex-spouse’s family members remain valid. It is always a good idea to go over your will after divorce and make sure it still reflects your current wishes.

Change Your Beneficiaries on Your Retirement Accounts

If you have an IRA, 401K, or other retirement plan, you will probably need to update the beneficiaries listed in your policy. As a part of your divorce settlement, you may be required to share retirement funds with your ex-spouse. However, any remaining retirement funds should rightfully be yours. If your spouse is currently listed as the beneficiary on your retirement account, you need to change this sooner rather than later. Some divorced individuals still want their spouse listed as a trustee for their children. If this is your situation, read through your retirement policy and other estate planning documents any make any necessary changes so that they documents reflect your wishes

...

Lombard estate planning attorneyIt is estimated that approximately 1,300 new stepfamilies are created every day in the United States. While proper estate planning is important for everyone, individuals who have a blended family should take special care to ensure that their estate plans reflect their wishes and provide for beneficiaries.  Whether your family includes stepparents and stepchildren, adopted children, half-siblings, or grandchildren, having a comprehensive estate plan is essential. If you are in a blended family, there are special estate planning considerations that may apply to your situation that you may be unaware of.  

Complications Regarding Remarriages and Children from a Previous Marriage

A large percentage of U.S. adults are on their second or third marriages. If you have remarried and you have children from a previous relationship, you should be aware of the way Illinois intestate succession laws operate. If a person dies without a valid will or other estate planning document, his or her assets are distributed according to state law. In Illinois, the laws of intestate succession would split your estate between your current spouse and your children. Such laws, however, do not specify which of your assets will go to your children. This means that if you want your children from a previous relationship to inherit certain items—including family heirlooms or other things with sentimental value, you will need to create a will or trust to do so.

One major mistake many people make when they get remarried is forgetting to change the primary beneficiary from their previous spouse to their current spouse. If you have remarried but your have children from a past relationship, you may want to consider naming your new spouse and your biological children as primary beneficiaries. This would allow each of these individuals to receive a portion of your estate when you pass away. Another option is to create a revocable trust that assigns assets to your spouse during his or her lifetime but then passes the remaining trust balance to your children upon your spouse’s death.

...

Lombard estate planning lawyersIf you are like many pet owners, your pets are not simply animals, they are loyal companions. Because you love your pet and want to ensure he or she will be cared for if you pass away, you may be interested in including your pet in your estate plans. A pet is not a human so you cannot leave an inheritance directly to a pet. However, there are certain estate planning tools that allow you to designate funds and property for the care of your pet.

Planning for Pets After Your Death

If you are considering providing for your pet in your estate plan, you have already considered the fact that your pet may outlive you. Many people assume that when they pass away that family members or friends will care for their pet, but this is not always what ends up happening. Sometimes the person you hoped would look after your companion simply cannot fulfil the responsibility. He or she may have health issues or allergies that prevent him or her from owning pets, live in a residence that does not allow pets, or he or she may be unable to afford your pet’s care. One option that allows you to ensure that your pet receives the care he or she needs is a pet trust.

Consider a Pet Trust

The Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act allows people to create trusts for the purpose of providing for their pet after they are gone. If you have a pet who needs expensive medical care or has other needs, you may worry about who will provide for these needs after you have passed away. One option is to place funds in a trust that may only be used for the pet’s medical care, food, shelter, exercise, and other needs. You will then designate someone who you trust to carry out these responsibilities. This person is called the trustee. When you pass away, the trustee gains access to the funds in the trust. Once the pet has passed away, the remaining funds will be distributed according to the directions you have described in the trust document.

...

DuPage County estate planning attorneyOnly about four out of ten adults have any type of estate plan in place. Misunderstandings about the purpose of estate planning and fears about confronting one’s own mortality are two of the main reasons that people neglect this important responsibility. People also put off estate planning because they are overwhelmed and do not know where to begin.

If you are ready to get started on your estate plans, consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. A lawyer will help you determine what types of estate planning tools will best accomplish your goals. He or she can also ensure that your estate plans do not contain mistakes that could invalidate the decisions you have made.

Planning for Future Disability or Incapacitation

Of the people who do create estate plans, many draft a will and little else. A will is a crucial estate planning tool that allows you to direct how your assets are passed down to heirs upon your death, but it is not the only estate planning tool worth utilizing. You must also consider what will happen if you become seriously ill or injured and are unable to speak for yourself. A medical power of attorney allows you to choose a representative to speak on your behalf about medical decisions if you are incapacitated and cannot express these medical wishes. A financial power of attorney allows you to appoint a representative to manage your finances if you cannot do so yourself. A living will allows you to choose in advance what types of end-of-life care you would and would not want if you could not express it. You can choose whether or not doctors should use mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, CPR, and other medical procedures to delay your death.

...
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
Back to Top