What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning is simply a legal concentration that plans for incapacity and death. Typically, this planning involves wills, pour over wills, living trusts, and powers of attorney for healthcare and property.
A will is simply a written document that disposes of one's property upon your death. A will is a on-death document meaning that it does not have any affect during your life. A pour over will is a type of will that combines with a living trust to make probate a simple process. A pour over will becomes a catchall strategy to assist an estate avoid the complexities of probate. For example, Sue deceased and had a beneficiary that deceased on her bank account and did not designate a successor beneficiary. Thus, a pour over will instructs an asset without a proper beneficiary designation to be transferred into your living trust.
A living trusts is a written instrument that plans for your incapacity and death. A living trust is "living" because it works during your lifetime and upon death. A living trust is designed to avoid guardianship court and probate court. Guardianship court is a court that hears claims of disabled persons. These claims are relevant when a disabled adult loses their capacity to make decisions. Powers of attorney for healthcare and property are important, but to avoid guardianship court, your assets must be titled in your revocable living trust's name.
Essentially, estate planning is the process of working with an individual or family and assisting them with a smooth transfer upon death, avoidance of usual family conflicts, and the planning of incapacity and death. Estate planning also is giving advice on how to properly structure your assets to apply for medicaid or assist you and your family in helping your grandchildren or children remain eligible for medicaid (state public assistance). Many special needs children need the financial assistance of the state of Illinois because the expense of taking care of a special needs child.
In conclusion, estate planning is important because incapacity and death issues destroy many families. In my experience, there is a price that people will or will not pay for their families. If your children or loved ones will get destroyed by your lack of planning, estate planning is a family value.
Sean Robertson, Esq.
Robertson Law Group, LLC
312-498-6080 (all offices) or 630-364-2318 (Naperville)
Locations in Naperville, Chicago Ridge, and downtown Chicago
Key word: Living will, pour over will, estate planning, wills, trusts, living trusts, revocable living trusts, power of attorney for healthcare and property