Hopefully, you recognize the need to have a comprehensive estate plan in place as well as the advantages to working with an experienced estate planning attorney during the creation of that plan. What you may not know, however, are the numerous and varied other ways that estate planning lawyers can help you. Learning some of the additional ways in which an estate planning lawyer can help you may be beneficial to you now and/or in the future.
A trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a Settlor, who transfers property to a Trustee. The Trustee holds that property for the trust’s beneficiaries. A trust is created using a trust agreement. The trust agreement includes terms, created by the Settlor, that dictate how the trust is to be administered. The Settlor also decides who to appoint as the Trustee of the trust. A common mistake is appointing a spouse or loved one to the Trustee without stopping to consider if he/she is really the best choice. In fact, appointing a professional, such as an estate planning attorney, is frequently the wise choice. An estate planning attorney has the experience and knowledge needed to successfully administer the trust along with the ability to remain neutral and objective when disputes or problems arise.
There may come a time when you realize that a parent, or other elderly loved one, can no longer function safely in his/her home because of the physical and/or mental deterioration that comes with aging or because your loved one is suffering from dementia caused by Alzheimer’s or another age-related condition. It may be necessary to pursue guardianship to prevent physical harm and/or financial victimization. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help guide you through the guardianship process.
Probating an Estate
If you find yourself in charge of overseeing the probate of the estate of a recently deceased loved one it is in your best interest to retain the services of an experienced estate planning attorney to assist you. Navigating the probate process can be complicated enough before you add in the fact that you are also trying to manage your own grief. Having an estate planning attorney to turn to for advice and guidance drastically reduces the likelihood of making a costly mistake.
Contesting a Will
Accepting the death of a loved one is never easy. It can be even harder if you believe something is amiss with the Last Will and Testament submitted to the court for probate. Although you cannot challenge a Will simply because you are unhappy with the inheritance you received (or did not receive) therein, you can pursue a Will contest if you believe you have legal grounds on which the Will may be declared invalid. An estate planning attorney can review the facts and circumstances surrounding the execution of the Will and help you decide if you have the requisite grounds for a Will contest. If you do, your estate planning attorney can represent you through the subsequent litigation.
Special Needs Planning
If you are the parent of a child with special needs you undoubtedly worry about your child’s care and maintenance when he/she becomes an adult and, particularly, after you are gone. Simply leaving assets to your child in your estate plan won’t work because it will jeopardize eligibility for much needed assistance programs such as Medicaid and SSI. An estate planning attorney can help you devise a special needs planning component, that will likely include a special needs trust, for your existing estate plan. Doing so will provide you with invaluable peace of mind both now and in the future.
Contact Estate Planning Lawyers
Please feel free to download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns regarding the numerous ways in which an estate planning attorney can help you, contact an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.