DuPage County Wills & Trusts Attorneys
Experienced Wills and Trusts Lawyers Serving Wheaton and Naperville
Wills and trusts are a fundamental part of any estate plan. Both can be used to transfer assets to your beneficiaries after you pass away. In addition, trusts (in various forms) can be useful in successfully managing the assets within your estate while you are still living. Deciding which of these tools to use in your estate plan requires careful consideration and should be done with the guidance of skilled estate, trusts and asset protection planning attorneys.
At Momkus McCluskey LLC, our estate planning lawyers have vast experience and in-depth knowledge of all estate and probate matters. We work closely with our clients to understand their unique circumstances and customize a plan that meets their needs and accomplishes their goals. We create wills, trusts and other estate planning documents with an eye toward protecting your assets and ensuring that your final wishes are effectively carried out.
Reasons for Creating a Will
A will is the most basic of estate planning tools and is used to ensure that your assets go to your desired beneficiaries. Wills are administered in accordance with the Illinois Probate Act of 1975 and involve a probate process that can take several months to complete. Though the probate process can be costly even with a will, it can be even more costly without one. If you die without a will, assets that would have been passed through your will are distributed based on Illinois intestate succession laws. This means that if you have children, siblings or parents, their shares of your estate will be determined by formulas laid out in these laws. This deprives you of the opportunity to decide who should receive your assets. If you have a more complex estate, however, it may be worthwhile to avoid the probate process altogether by setting up a trust.
Advantages and Types of Trusts
A trust is a more complicated financial vehicle. It is designed to preserve your assets and ensure that they are passed smoothly to the next generation. Trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable. They can also be effective tax planning tools and may be set up to protect your assets while you are still living.
Some of the more common types of trusts include:
- Living Trusts: These are legal documents usually set up for the purpose of passing your assets to your heirs after your death without the need for probate. Living trusts can be revocable or irrevocable and can be set up to dissolve after your death (and after the assets are distributed) or continue managing the assets for the beneficiaries.
- OBRA Trusts: This is a disability planning tool created to help disabled persons qualify for the Medicaid benefits they need (to receive proper care) even when they have significant assets.
- Charitable Remainder Trusts: These are annuities that pay out gains from a large asset sale over a period of time while bypassing capital gains taxes. If you pass away before the annuity has finished paying out, any remainder is paid out to a charity of your choice.
- Credit Shelter Trusts: This is a tool for protecting a portion of your estate from state and federal estate taxes and creditors. A credit shelter trust also leaves your spouse with limited control over the funds after you pass away, leaving the principal to your beneficiaries upon the passing of your spouse.
- Life Insurance Trusts: Like a credit shelter trust, an irrevocable life insurance trust is the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, again giving limited control to your spouse and leaving the principal to your beneficiaries when your spouse passes away.
- Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT): This is a financial vehicle that is used to transfer a residence to your heirs at a low gift tax value.
Wills and trusts can be used together or separately as part of a comprehensive estate plan. The need for one or the other (or both) will be largely determined by your individual situation and unique family dynamics. Our lawyers take the time to examine your "big picture" needs and effectively address all important factors in determining which tools should be included in your estate plan. This gives you the confident assurance that your hard-earned wealth will be protected and passed into the right hands when you die.
For skilled legal guidance setting up wills and trusts, contact Momkus McCluskey LLC today at (630) 434-0400 for a consultation. We provide advice and counsel from our team of dedicated estate planning attorneys located in DuPage County, Illinois and serving Lisle, Naperville, Wheaton and the surrounding communities.