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Do I Need a Will and Trust?

Hoffman Estates and Des Plaines Estate Planning Attorneys Helping with Asset Protection

How to distribute assets after death is a very difficult series of decisions. Both wills and trusts are used as part of estate planning in Illinois to clarify your intentions, protect your family and reduce your estate tax liabilities. Whether your estate is large or small, it is in your best interest to establish a comprehensive estate plan utilizing testamentary will and trust entities. Our team of estate planning attorneys in Hoffman Estates and Des Plaines IL enjoys helping people find the best estate planning solution by taking into account every aspect of their unique situations.

Lawyers for Estate Planning on Differences between a Will and Trust

Testamentary wills are documents that go into effect only after death. They are necessary for all people to name legal guardians of children and property beneficiaries.

Trusts are legal entities that hold and distribute assets to named beneficiaries. A trust creates a fiduciary duty on the part of the trustee to carry out the intentions of the person who funds the trust. The person who funds a trust is known as a grantor, trustor, settlor or donor, among other names. Different types of trusts can serve many Illinois estate planning goals, including tax minimization, control over assets and the distribution of property over time. Some trusts are created and carried out during the life of the grantor, while others only go into effect upon death. Typically, a will and a trust should be drafted together to complement each other.

Additional differences between a will and a trust are as follows:

  • Wills go through probate administration; trust assets are not part of a probate estate. Administration in probate court can take time, while trust assets can be distributed immediately and without court supervision. Probate filings and wills are public documents, while trusts are completely private entities. The probate estate is subject to estate tax, while certain trusts can avoid this tax entirely.

  • Wills distribute assets only after death; many trusts can be settled and property can be distributed during life. While a will only takes effect upon the passing of the grantor, creating a trust may be good if you have minor children or other beneficiaries who you would like to receive certain assets and real or personal property transferred to the trust, regardless if you are alive or deceased.

  • Wills put in place guardianship and other arrangements; trusts can put in place plans for disability and insurance policies. In a will, unlike a trust, you will have the advantage of naming a guardian for your children and specifying funeral arrangements. Certain trusts, such as life insurance trusts and special needs trusts, are viable options to put in place plans for paying estate tax liabilities and providing resources to children with disabilities.

What are the Differences between a Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts in Illinois?

Trusts are usually best if you have many assets, out-of-state assets or if you wish to manage your assets while alive. The two main types of trusts for estate planning include:

  • Revocable – Revocable trusts are trusts in which the grantor holds on to the ability to change, modify or revoke the trust at any time. Assets transferred to revocable trusts before the passing of the grantor are not subject to probate, as the trust owns the assets and property. Revocable living trusts in Illinois become irrevocable upon the death of the grantor.

  • Irrevocable – Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed or modified once the grantor creates it. Any property a grantor transfers to an irrevocable trust cannot be taken out by anyone, including the grantor. There are many types of irrevocable trusts, such as charitable planning, bypass, special needs planning, asset protection, life insurance trusts and more. Irrevocable trusts in Illinois are typically used to protect property and reduce or avoid taxes.

Need an Estate Planning Lawyer Near Hoffman Estates or Des Plains IL?

Our estate planning attorneys have experience helping people put in place estate plans specific to their wants and needs. Our firm, with law offices in Des Plaines and Hoffman Estates, wants to help you design a will or trust that accurately reflects your final wishes. If you are ready to build a relationship with an Illinois estate planning law firm that values honesty and integrity, contact our lawyers for estate planning to schedule an attorney consultation today.

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