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Is your estate plan missing these 3 items?

Is your estate plan missing these 3 items?

Notebook and pen Black and white

A woman worried about her pets’ wellbeing was motivated to start a sanctuary for animals whose owners have passed away. According to the Huffington Post, dozens of animals have gone to stay with the woman, as their owners did not include the pets in their estate plans.

As an estate lawyer in Libertyville has seen, pets are just one item that are often left out of legal documentation. For those who are planning, it is important to remember to include these three items:


For many people, pets are more than just animals – they are family. According to the Illinois Pet Trust Act, including pets in estate planning may involve setting aside funds to provide for the care of the animals. Many people open a trust, which will not only hold the money but it also designates a trustee who will care for the pet.

If the animal passes away, the Pet Trust Act states that there are three ways that any remaining funds could be disbursed: they may go to a designated beneficiary, they may go to a beneficiary that received other aspects of the estate, or they may go to the heirs of the person who established the trust.


Whether it is a collection of stamps or a cache of firearms, a collection is something that should be addressed in a will. Many an estate lawyer in Libertyville have seen that without making such provisions, the items may be sold off in order to pay creditors. When it comes to legal guns, there is a gun trust that people may choose to set up to circumvent federal laws. For other collections, people should name an heir who will receive the items.

Special needs trusts

One final item that can be overlooked is a special needs trust, which will provide for relatives who cannot care for themselves. Through setting up such a fund, people can ensure their disabled loved ones will still be able to receive government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.

As part of comprehensive estate planning, a special needs trust designates a trustee who will oversee how the funds are spent. Money does not go directly to the disabled, as it could interfere with SSI eligibility. Instead, the trustee can use the funds to pay for goods and services such as out-of-pocket medical expenses, home furnishings, education or personal care attendants.

When drafting documents such as a will, it is imperative to consider all the important aspects of one’s life. That often includes these three items, which, if overlooked, could result in disappointing outcomes upon someone’s death. Anyone with questions regarding how to incorporate these matters into legal documentation should consult with an estate lawyer in Libertyville.

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