What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning is the process of evaluating your objectives for the management and the disposition of your property during, and subsequent to, your life. At the Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. we will help you review your objectives and create a plan for your future. Whether you are rich or poor, married or single, it is important for you to take steps to prepare yourself legally for incapacity and death. If you fail to estate plan, someone else, maybe someone you don’t even know, might end up making all your decisions for you at cost to you. Each individual’s circumstances and needs are different from everyone else’s. It is important that you have an Estate Plan that is appropriate for your circumstances, not some cookie cutter standard form which does address your circumstances. The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates, P.C. /Elder Law & Estate Planning Attorneys of Illinois, P.C. will help you determine what documents are appropriate for your circumstances. Call (847)253-7500 today to schedule an appointment with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney.
Estate planning is implemented through the execution and use of a variety of legal documents, including but not limited to Last Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, Revocable Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Asset Protection Trusts and Special Needs Trusts. Among the estate planning documents, one of the most commonly prepared is a Last Wills and Testament. A Last Will is a document that controls the disposition of a person’s property at death. It determines who is to receive what property. It also will name guardians for minor children, and set forth their duties. A Last Will can also establish a trust to be created after your death for minor children, or for other purposes. The Last Will names the Executor, the person who will be responsible for paying your debts, clearing all estate issues and distributing your assets.
Durable Powers of Attorneys A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you give another person legal authority to act for you. A durable Power of Attorney authorizes your agent to continue to act for you after you become incapacitated. A durable Power of Attorney for Property allows your agent to carry out financial tasks for you when you cannot do so. This might include paying your bills, managing your property, and handling other money matters. A durable Power of Attorney for Health Care lets your agent make medical decisions for you when you can’t are incapacitated.
A Trust is an arrangement under which one person, called a trustee, holds and manages property for another person, called a beneficiary. A “living trust,” also called an “inter vivos” trust, is simply a trust you create while you’re alive, rather than one that is created upon your death. Different kinds of living trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, or set up long-term property management. A living trust lets you arrange how you want your property managed while you are alive and how your assets should be distributed after your death.
Medicaid Planning Medicaid planning consists of actions taken to reposition assets in an effort to protect the non-institutionalized spouse and the family, and to promote the independence and quality of life for the Medicaid applicant. We help seniors and their families prepare a comprehensive plan to deal with long term care, while maximizing the financial resources available to the spouse and family.
A Special Needs Trust is a type of trust that helps to protect the assets of a person with disabilities. A special needs trust is set up for a person with special needs to supplement any benefits the person with special needs may receive from government programs.Individuals with disabilities often receive governmental assistance and would benefit from having funds in a trust used to maintain their quality of life. A properly drafted special needs trust will allow the beneficiary to receive government benefits while still receiving funds from the trust.
A Living Will is very different from your regular will. It does not involve transferring your property to loved ones. Instead, it identifies the medical procedures you do, or don’t want to receive during your final illness. A living will can tell your doctor whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatment. Living wills are not as effective as Durable Powers of Attorney, as though they express your desires regarding treatment, they are not enforceable by anyone except the drafter, who is usually incapacitated. A Durable Power of Attorney is a more effective document because it gives authority to another individual to make decisions for the incapacitated individual.