There is a lot to think about when considering estate planning, but the most important thing is that you do, in fact, think about it. When people pass away and do not have an estate plan in place, it is up to the state to determine what will happen to their possessions, as well as where dependent minors will live and with whom they will live. There are certain aspects of estate planning that are particularly important to consider, including charitable planned giving, estate litigation, estate and trust administration, and succession planning.
Many of our clients support a variety of charities, and there are several ways of giving to charities both during and after your lifetime, including charitable life estates, charitable remainder trusts, private or family foundations, charitable lead trusts, charitable gift annuities, and donor-advised funds. These methods not only support those in need, but also help both your estate and yourself through tax benefits.
Harrison & Held, LLP’s trust and estate litigators combine extensive federal and state courtroom, appellate, and Illinois Supreme Court experience with in-depth knowledge of tax, probate and trust law, representing banks, trust companies and individuals in high-stakes will and trust contests, breach of fiduciary duty claims and contested accountings.
To avoid the unintended consequences associated with the distribution of assets and estate taxation, it is crucial that everyone has an estate plan in place. Business owners must have an estate plan in place to ensure the smooth transfer of ownership of the business and married couples must have a will to avoid fights among relatives after someone passes away. Single people often do not think they need an estate plan, but they do. These individuals do not have protections from the state for their surviving life partners the same way married people do, and an estate plan will allow them to transfer their assets in the manner they wish.
Most of a person’s estate will go through probate, which occurs in a courthouse with a judge making the decisions according to either state law or what is written into a person’s estate plan. Trust administration does not generally go through probate or have any judicial oversight unless an issue arises. Estates also typically go through probate, while trust administration is only required when the deceased had created a trust during his or her lifetime. The process for administering both trusts and estates are quite different, although there is a key similarity. They are both very complex and individuals should speak to an attorney who can help them through it.
Often people want to pass their business on to someone else, and they want to ensure that their business goals are carried out once a successor takes control. To ensure that a succession plan is complete, it is important to not only have a plan for management succession, but also have an ownership plan and a transition plan. An attorney can help ensure that your plan reflects your wishes and that the succession proceeds smoothly.
There is so much more to estate planning than simply creating a will. At Harrison & Held, LLP, our Chicago estate planning lawyers can help you create an estate plan that is complete and clearly reflects your last wishes so it is enforceable and there is no fighting within the family. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys and to learn more about how we can help.
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