The idea of sitting down and creating an estate plan can be rather intimidating if you know next to nothing about estate planning. It should come as no real surprise then that over half of all Americans have yet to create an estate plan despite recognizing the importance of having one in place. In an effort to remove some of the mystery out of the estate planning process, the Lincolnshire estate planning lawyers at Hedeker Law Ltd. have provided answers to five of the most commonly asked estate planning questions. If you have specific questions or concerns about your own estate plan or that of a loved one, please feel free to contact our office to schedule a consultation.
Commonly Asked Estate Planning Questions
- When should I start my estate plan? One of the most commonly held beliefs is that an estate plan is not needed unless you have accumulated a valuable estate and/or you have a family to protect. While both of those are certainly strong motivators for creating an estate plan, you should already have a plan in place by the time you accumulate your fortune or begin a family. Every adult can benefit from creating an estate plan.
- What components do I need to include in my estate plan? Estate planning is a highly individualized process. As such, no two plans include exactly the same needs and goals. Consequently, the only way to decide what components you need in your estate plan is to consult with an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney. There are, however, some components that are frequently found in the average estate plan beyond the basic disposition of assets, including:
- Incapacity planning
- Probate avoidance
- Retirement planning
- Tax avoidance
- Medicaid planning
- Strategies for parents with minor children
- Charitable gifting
- Business succession planning
- What are fiduciary roles and who should I appoint to those roles? Within your estate plan, you will likely appoint several people to fiduciary roles. These are positions of trust that typically involve managing assets for the benefit of a third party. If you create a trust, for example, as part of your estate plan, you will need to appoint someone to be the Trustee of that trust. That individual will manage and invest the trust assets, among a variety of other duties and responsibilities. You will also need to appoint someone to be the Executor of your estate. Your Executor will oversee the probate of your estate, a job that also involves managing your estate assets during the administration of your estate. Do not make the common mistake of appointing a spouse, friend, or family member to a position without first taking the time to find out what that position entails. Only then can you decide who is best suited to the position.
- How often should I review and revise my estate plan? Although there is no universally accepted rule with regard to how often you should review your estate plan, reviews should definitely occur more often during your working years because major life changes are more likely to occur. A good rule of thumb is to schedule a routine review every three or four years prior to age 60 and then every five or six years thereafter. In addition, certain events in your life should prompt an immediate review, such as marriage, birth of a child, death of a beneficiary or fiduciary, or a move to another state.
- Can’t I save money by using DIY estate planning documents I found online? It may be tempting to try and save time and money by going the DIY route; however, DIY estate planning documents are notoriously riddled with errors and omissions that frequently result in protracted litigation after the death of the document’s creator. In the end, your loved ones will likely spend far more time and money in litigation after your death than you managed to save by using DIY forms.
Contact Lincolnshire Estate Planning Lawyers
For more information, please download out FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns regarding estate planning, or would like to get started on your plan, contact the experienced Lincolnshire estate planning lawyers at Hedeker Law, Ltd. by calling (847) 913-5415 to schedule an appointment.