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wheaton estate planning lawyer Trusts are rapidly replacing wills as the main form of testamentary estate planning. You do not need to be a millionaire for using a trust to make sense. In terms of deciding who gets what when you have passed away, a trust can do everything a will can do while also allowing for some discretion and more gradual distribution. There are a number of benefits trusts offer that wills cannot. Unless you have minor children, you may not need a will at all if you establish a trust. There are also numerous different types of trusts that all offer distinct advantages and disadvantages. An attorney can help you understand all your options so that you can make a well-informed decision. 

Advantages of Using a Trust, Not a Will

Some of the benefits that have people turning to trusts as their primary testamentary document include: 

  • Gradual distributions - When you use a will, your beneficiaries get whatever gifts you have left for them in their entirety immediately. Depending on your beneficiaries and how they are with financial management, this could be a recipe for disaster. With a trust, you can have money slowly distributed to them over time instead of handing them a lump sum. 

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lombard family law attorneyMany couples in Illinois feel as though they have lost a romantic connection or have differences too great to overcome. At the same time, these couples may not be ready to completely commit to a divorce - now or ever. When this happens, Illinois law offers an alternative option that may be a better fit: Legal separation. If you want to officially separate from your spouse but do not want a divorce, read this overview of legal separation and then talk to a DuPage family law attorney about your options. 

What is a Legal Separation in Illinois? 

When married couples who want to separate move out of the marital home, they may be physically separated but they have not yet gotten legally separated. Legal separation is not merely living apart; rather, it is a legal term that describes formally separating your life with your spouse in virtually the same way as a divorce without actually getting divorced. 

For example, in a divorce spouses must resolve the following issues:

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illnois divorce lawyerThe purchase of a first home is a major milestone in many couples’ marriages. Unfortunately, the division of the marital home later in divorce is often a difficult issue to resolve, especially when only one spouse has their name on the title or purchased the home before the marriage. If you are thinking about getting divorced and are wondering whether you have any claim to the home you lived in during your marriage, make sure you have a skilled Illinois divorce attorney on your side. 

Homes Can Be Personal Property, Marital Property, or Both

Before assets can be divided in a divorce, they need to be categorized as either personal or marital property. For smaller assets like a car or a piece of jewelry, determining the category is usually fairly straightforward. For a home, however, the process can be a little more difficult. 

For example, if you waited until after you were married to buy a house but only one spouse had good enough credit to purchase the home, the home may appear to be owned exclusively by that spouse. But marital property is not necessarily determined by whose name is on the title of the home; rather, if an item was bought after a marriage using both spouses’ incomes, the item is considered marital property no matter who is listed as the owner. 

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illnois divorce lawyerThe purchase of a first home is a major milestone in many couples’ marriages. Unfortunately, the division of the marital home later in divorce is often a difficult issue to resolve, especially when only one spouse has their name on the title or purchased the home before the marriage. If you are thinking about getting divorced and are wondering whether you have any claim to the home you lived in during your marriage, make sure you have a skilled Illinois divorce attorney on your side. 

Homes Can Be Personal Property, Marital Property, or Both

Before assets can be divided in a divorce, they need to be categorized as either personal or marital property. For smaller assets like a car or a piece of jewelry, determining the category is usually fairly straightforward. For a home, however, the process can be a little more difficult. 

For example, if you waited until after you were married to buy a house but only one spouse had good enough credit to purchase the home, the home may appear to be owned exclusively by that spouse. But marital property is not necessarily determined by whose name is on the title of the home; rather, if an item was bought after a marriage using both spouses’ incomes, the item is considered marital property no matter who is listed as the owner. 

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wheaton estate planning lawyerAs people live longer and longer lives, the chances that you could one day experience age-related incapacity increase. Even if it is only for a short time in your very advanced age, most people will at some point lose the ability to think clearly and make decisions on their own behalf. While no one wants to go through an illness that affects the mind, like dementia, the reality is that many of us will. Planning for incapacity is a wise choice; the younger and healthier you are when you do it, the stronger your plan may be. The entire process of getting the documents you need to prepare for such an event does not take long, although you should think carefully about your choices. You have quite a bit to gain and nothing to lose by doing this important type of planning. 

Reasons You Need an Incapacity Plan

You may have already seen an elderly family member go through age-related incapacity. For many people, watching a loved one struggle with age-related incapacity is what prompts them to make a plan of their own. Advantages of having this type of plan in place include: 

  • Family harmony - Everyone has their own personal opinion about how end-of-life matters should be handled. Sadly, disagreements about these issues can tear a family apart when it should be banding together. Adult children may have relationship-altering disputes about whether their incapacitated mother with terminal cancer should be given life-prolonging treatments or moved to hospice to be kept comfortable. Incapacity planning lets you make these choices for yourself, so there will be no reason for your family to fight. 

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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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