Choosing the Right Probate-Avoidance Method

The probate-avoidance strategy decedents use can determine if their heirs are burdened with debt. The heirs of a person who dies with debt are responsible for settling those debts. The estate is responsible for settling the final affairs (i.e., debts, tax obligations, etc.) of the decedent and the remainder is distributed to the decedent’s heirs in accordance with the decedent’s instructions or state law if there is no will. However, in some circumstances, the heirs can be saddled with the … [Read more...]

3 Common Myths About Probate Law

Probate is a technical and often misunderstood area of the law. Here are some of the more popular probate law myths. 1. There Will Be a Reading of the Will Many fictitious depictions of probate law include a reading of the will, but in reality, there won’t be an actual reading with your attorney or representative. While readings may have taken place more often in days of illiteracy, they are far less likely to be done today unless it’s absolutely required for the beneficiaries. Typically, … [Read more...]

Small Estate Affidavits for Decedents Who Lived the Simple Life

Large estates can become extremely complicated when loved ones pass away if thorough planning has not been completed. But smaller estates can often avoid the hassles of a lengthy probate process. While many individuals spend their lives accumulating significant amounts of land, real estate, collectibles and other items of monetary value, others either downsize to achieve a simpler life or never establish a large estate to begin with. For deceased individuals who did not have a high value estate … [Read more...]

Requirements for an Illinois Will

According to a 2016 Gallup poll, only 44% of Americans have a will. Too often people believe that they either do not have adequate money or assets to warrant a will or that they will have plenty of time to write one later. The main problem is that wills do more than handle assets after a person passes. Wills specify who will become the guardian of any dependents of the deceased and how the deceased's body will be handled, among other non-asset related issues. They also provide comfort and … [Read more...]

How Your Estate Plan Should Change After a Divorce

After a divorce, the legal relationship between the former spouses, necessitating a change in estate plans. Many individuals name their spouse to important roles and this work must be unwoven to protect a person's interests after divorce. Some aspects of the estate plan that may need to be changed include: The Will Spouses may have named each other the executor of each other's will. Additionally, the spouse may stand to inherit everything. Changes are usually required to the will to avoid … [Read more...]

Update Your Will and Avoid Probate Court

An updated will can protect assets that are meant to go to chosen family members and heirs when a person dies. Without a will, Illinois intestate succession laws will dictate through probate what happens to an individual’s business, savings, personal property, and possibly even minor children. If problems arise, a probate attorney can advise beneficiaries on how to settle the deceased person's estate. Updating a Last Will and Testament Statistics show that up to 70 percent of adults do not … [Read more...]

How Probate Works in Illinois

Probate is the legal process by which a will is “recognized” and the court gives the executor of the estate permission to proceed with enforcing the terms of the will. Most wills are probated with few problems however, if a beneficiary disputes the terms or an excluded person believes they were unjustly omitted, then the process can become substantially more expensive. Illinois codified its probate process (prior to the law, it existed as common or “judge-made” law) with the Probate Act of … [Read more...]

Review of the Probate Process

Probate is a legal process which formally recognizes a will and appoints an executor to administer the estate and implement the terms of the will. Probate, contrary to legal marketing gimmicks, is not the death knell of an estate. Probate is merely a legal process by which the court supervises the distribution of property to heirs. Overview of Probate Probate is a specialized legal proceeding in which the court reviews a will and recognizes it. During probate, the court appoints an executor to … [Read more...]

The Benefits of a Living Trust

Estate planning is a careful mixture of planning for present and future needs. People who put too much of their assets away in a trust may lose the ability to support their lifestyle. People who don’t plan sufficiently may end up paying significant sums in taxes. Living trusts are an estate planning tool that is critical to ensuring that future planning does not detract from present needs. Estate Planning Generally There are two tools that people use to plan their estate the will and the … [Read more...]

The Presumption of Revocation in Illinois

As the world progresses through the digital era, an increasing number of files and important documents are being copied and stored paperlessly. While this might seem like a more organized, safer and more efficient means of preserving paperwork, providing a digital copy may not be legally sufficient for estate documents- namely wills. In fact, an Illinois probate attorney cannot stress enough the importance of properly storing all original estate planning documents. … [Read more...]

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