ESTATE PLANNING

Estate planning provides the opportunity to clearly identify how you would like your estate and interests to be managed upon your mental or physical incapacity or death. Through the planning process, you can identify your needs and interests and develop a plan that achieves your desired outcome.
When should you begin estate planning? Now! It is never too early to begin planning.
We will work with you to tailor an estate plan that legally secures your wishes.

SECURE YOUR INTERESTS
A. Trusts give control of assets to a spouse or other person or entity designated to be the trustee or co-trustees of the trust.
B. A trust is an agreement (the trust) whereby one person or entity (the trustee) holds and manages property (real estate and/or liquid assets for another (the beneficiary)).
C. Many people include both a will and trust in his/her/their estate planning package.
D. Other estate planning tools, such as a health care power of attorney or property power of attorney, are part of and should be included in a comprehensive estate plan as well.
E. The Illinois Trust Code sets forth the various procedures and requirements that must be satisfied in all probate proceedings.

The PERSONAL AND FINANCIAL ORGANIZER will help identify the points of consideration in the development of a trust.
CLICK HERE for PERSONAL FINANCIAL ORGANIZER

Call SOKOL & MAZIAN to learn how we can assist you in securing your interests.

A. A specific trust, such as a revocable living trust, is designed with a particular purpose in mind.
B. In a revocable living trust, the grantor(s) of the trust maintains the ability to alter or amend the provisions of the trust, while he or she or they are still living and competent and is/are usually the primary beneficiary(ies).
C. Upon death of the grantor(s), or creator of the trust, the proceeds of the trust are distributed to the contingent beneficiaries named therein.
D. A revocable living trust also avoids the probate process to the extent it is properly funded.
E. A confidential, frank conversation with the experienced attorneys of SOKOL & MAZIAN is the best way to start the process of designing and formalizing an estate plan.

A. Avoids probate at death, including multiple probates if property is owned in other states, which saves time and money.
B. Prevents court control of assets, through a guardianship, if incapacitated for those assets transferred to the trust.
C. Brings all assets together under one plan i.e., the trust agreement.
D. Provides maximum privacy since it is not recorded or filed in probate court.
E. Allows for a quicker distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
F. Assets may be designated to remain in the trust until named contingent beneficiaries reach his/her specified age.
G. Is relatively inexpensive, easy to set up and maintain, especially if the trustees and beneficiaries are the same.
H. May be amended or cancelled at any time while the creator is still alive & competent.
I. Is difficult to contest or challenge in court proceedings.
J. May prevent court control of minor’s inheritances if springing trusts are included.
K. May protect dependents with “special needs” if a special needs trust is included for a disabled beneficiary.
L. May prevent unintentional disinheriting and other problems arising out of joint ownership.
M. If desired, may allow for uninterrupted professional management of the trust assets by using a corporate trustee where appropriate.

PROTECT YOUR REAL ESTATE
A. A simple revocable trust established to hold title to real estate, and which contains language as to who shall exercise the power to direct the trustee to take certain actions authorized in the agreement. This power is called the power of direction.
B. Only real estate can be held by a Land Trust.
C. A land trust can be terminated by the person designated in the trust having the power to direct the trustee. If the trustee is a licensed company, then the company can terminate the trust if its fees and costs associated therewith are not paid when due.

For more detailed explanation of Trust Basics, CLICK HERE.

For more detailed explanation of a Land Trust, CLICK HERE.

COMMUNICATE YOUR INTENTIONS
A. A carefully drafted will communicates your intentions, through a written document, and allows for an orderly and supervised way to guarantee that the provisions in the will are properly carried out by the Executor.
B. The will may also create, if desired, a testamentary (springing) trust for minor children or for other specific purposes.
C. The statutory requirements to make a will are:

a. The maker of a will must be 18 years old and be of sound mind and memory.
b. The will must be in writing.
c. The will must be signed by the maker and must be witnessed by 2 witnesses in the special manner provided by law. Persons who are beneficiaries under the will should not serve as witnesses.

A. Death or disability can arrive unexpectedly.
B. It is important to create your health care directives before a crisis occurs. We are reminded of this through the sad case of Terry Schiavo, the young woman who fell into a coma without leaving a singed health care directive behind.
C. SOKOL & MAZIAN will help you identify your needs and desires and then create a plan specific to you.

A Power of Attorney is written authorization providing a designated person the ability to act on your behalf in the event you are unable to act on your own behalf.

All adults, young and old, can ensure their health care wishes are legally secured through a Power of Attorney for Health Care.

A. Through a Property Power of Attorney, you identify who you want to manage your property and assets in the event you are unable to yourself. Your property can include real estate, bank accounts, and stocks, to name a few.
B. A POA can be limited in scope. For example, a real estate POA is limited to acts involving only the identified parcel of real estate.
C. For a more detailed explanation of Power of Attorney, CLICK HERE.

A. Through a Health Care Power of Attorney, you identify who you want to make medical treatment decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
B. For a more detailed explanation of Power of Attorney, CLICK HERE.

A. A statement given directly to your doctor.
B. Through a living will, you communicate that you do not want your death to be artificially postponed.
C. The Health Care Power of Attorney will control if the agents are available to direct the medical treatment.

BRINGS PEACE OF MIND

With the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer, wills or trusts can accomplish your goals and avoid crisis planning.

Contact the law offices of SOKOL & MAZIAN to schedule a consultation.

We will review any existing will or estate planning documents you already have executed, listen carefully to your concerns, and help you draft new documents, or amend existing ones, that will set forth your intentions regarding the distribution of your assets.

By identifying your wishes through a will or trust, you can ensure your assets are distributed the way you want them.