COOK COUNTY WILLS & TRUSTS ATTORNEY
Illinois Estate Planning Law Firm- Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney
Many people have heard of the idea of trying to avoid probate through the establishment of living trusts and we strongly encourage the use of them. However, a probate proceeding does NOT have to be a lengthy or wasteful process. When a will is carefully drafted to reflect the intentions of an individual, probate is an orderly supervised way to guarantee that the provisions in the will are properly carried out by the executor. Contact Sokol & Mazian to discuss drafting a will or trust for your particular situation.
ASSET PROTECTION THROUGH TRUSTS AND WILLS
Trusts give a greater sense of control of assets to a spouse or other person designated to be the trustee or co-trustee in the trust. For this and other reasons, many people include both a will and trusts in his/her or their estate planning package. 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.
TRUST BASICS- THE ELEMENTS
A trust agreement is a relationship whereby property is held in trust by one party for the benefit of another. Although trusts have evolved to the point where there is a specialized trust to fit almost any estate planning goal or objective, all trusts require the same five elements for formation, including:
– also known as the “Grantor”, “Maker,” or “Settlor”, is the person who creates the trust and makes all decisions relating to the trust.
– the Trustee is appointed in the Trust Agreement by the Settlor to manage and invest the trust assets and administer the terms of the trust. The Trustee can be an individual or an entity (such as a bank). As the Trustor, you may also appoint yourself as the trustee in certain types of the trusts.
– the Beneficiary receives the trust benefits that is, the income or principals assets of the trust. A beneficiary may be an individual, an organization (such as a church or charity), or even a family pet. A trust may have several beneficiaries and may include both current (primary) and future (contingent) classes of beneficiaries.
the terms of a trust are created by the Trustor and may include anything the Trustor wishes to include as long as a term is not illegal or “unconscionable”. When the Trustee administers the trust, he/she is obligated to carry out the trust terms exactly.
assets must be transferred into the trust by the Trustor to fund the trust. Just about any type of assets can be used, including cash and securities, real property, and proceeds of a life insurance policy.
REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS
A specific trust, such as revocable living trust is designed with particular purposes in mind. In a revocable living trust, the grantor(s) of the trust maintains the ability to alter or adjust the provisions of the trust, while he or she or they are still living and competent and is/are usually the primary beneficiary(ies). Upon death of the grantor(s), the proceeds of the trust are distributed to the named contingent beneficiaries. A revocable living trust also avoids the probate process to the extent it is properly funded. It also has a number of other advantages described below. A confidential, frank conversation with us is a good way to start the process of designing and formalizing an estate plan.
BENEFITS OF A LIVING TRUST
- Avoids probate at death, including multiple probates if property is owned in other states.
- Prevents court control of assets if incapacitated for those assets transferred to the trust
- Brings all assets together under one plan i.e, the trust agreement
- Provides maximum privacy, since it is not recorded or filed in probate court
- Allows for a quicker distribution of assets to beneficiaries
- Assets may be designated to remain in the trust until named contingent beneficiaries reach his/her specified age
- Is relatively inexpensive, easy to set up and maintain
- May be changed or cancelled at any time while the creator is still alive & competent
- Is difficult to contest or challenge in court proceedings
- May prevent court control of minor’s inheritances if springing trusts are included
- May protect dependants with “special needs” if a special needs trust is included for a disabled beneficiary
- May prevent unintentional disinheriting and other problems arising out of joint ownership
- If desired, may allow for uninterrupted professional management of the trust assets by using a corporate trustee where appropriate
BRINGS PEACE OF MIND!
Wills or trusts can accomplish your goals with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer. Contact the law offices of SOKOL & MAZIAN for representation in Cook ,Will or DuPage counties to schedule a consultation with us. We will review any existing will or estate planning documents you already have executed, listen carefully to your concerns and help you draft documents that will carry out your intentions regarding the distribution of your assets.