To ensure that your estate plan includes the specificity required to detail of your end-of-life goals, you should hire a skilled, competent Estate-Planning Attorney to walk you through the process. However, not every trust and estate attorney have the same training and experience—choosing the wrong one could be costly. Here are seven essential qualities to look for in an estate-planning attorney.
- Restricts practice to 2-3 areas of law
- Utilizes Modern Technology
- Works Quickly and Efficiently
- Offers Flat Fees
- Guides You Through Every Step of the Process
- Keeps in Touch Regularly.
At the Law Offices of Mark D. Brynteson, estate planning Attorney Brynteson uses his 35 years of legal experience to help you understand the different elements of an estate plan and determine which of them are most important for you. Attorney Brynteson is committed to serving people in Northern Illinois, including Belvidere, Rockford, Dekalb and Sycamore.
What are the 5 core estate planning documents:
- Wills and/or Trust
- Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney
- Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney
- Living Will and Advance Directives for Medical Decisions
- Beneficiary Designations.
What are the basic steps in the estate planning process?
- Inventory your stuff.
- Account for your family’s needs.
- Establish your directives.
- Review your beneficiaries.
- Note your state’s estate tax laws.
- Weigh the value of professional help.
- Plan to reassess on a regular basis.
Estate Planning Documents – The estate planning documents that are normally a part of any estate plan include the following:
Last Will and Testament
The function of a will is to designate (1) who is gets your assets after death; (2) who will be responsible for distributing those assets to your heirs; and (3) who will care for your minor children, if any. Without a will, the above questions will be answered by Illinois law and the probate courts. The probate process for intestate estates (estates without a will) is extremely time-consuming and causes awkwardness and hardship for those involved. Although wills usually pass through probate in most cases, the creation of even a simple will makes life much easier for your loved ones and ensures that your property is distributed according to your wishes.
Revocable Living Trusts
Revocable Living Trusts have become the estate planning tool of choice due to their flexibility and ability to avoid the probate process. A living trust is a document in which you (the “grantor”) transfer your property to a “trustee” for the benefit of others (the “beneficiaries”). Usually, the initial trustee and initial beneficiary are the same person. After the death of the grantor, the trust agreement will determine how your property is managed and divided up without the involvement of the probate court.
Powers of Attorney for Health Care and for Property
If you become incapacitated, Powers of Attorney allow a person of your choosing to make your health care and financial decisions. Powers of Attorney clarify your wishes concerning your healthcare and finances before they arise. They are an essential component of any estate plan.
Additionally, more advanced estate planning techniques are available for complex estates you may want to consider. They include gift trusts, family limited partnerships, qualified personal residence trusts (QPRT’s), etc. It is essential that professionals and others in high-liability careers safeguard their assets to ensure that they are protected from future litigation claims or other creditors.
Attorney Brynteson is committed to using his 35 years of experience to serve people in Northern Illinois, including Belvidere, Rockford, Dekalb and Sycamore.