Folks often believe that only the wealthy need a will or a trust. As a matter of fact, having an estate plan is not only about passing wealth on to future generations or avoiding taxes.
People Who Need an Estate Plan
Estate planning has numerous benefits for all of the following groups.
- People who wish to plan for the risk of disability or untimely death. Estate planning keeps families out of court and prevents fighting over who controls your finances and health.
- People who wish to pass their property to someone specific, or to disinherit a family member. Estate planning ensures that your property goes to the people you want it to go to (say, your child) and not to unintended third parties (say, your child’s divorcing spouse).
- People who receive Medicaid or SSI. If you have more than $2000, you will lose your benefits.
- People who have a family member with special needs including Down Syndrome, autism, or other disabilities. Estate planning ensures that these family members will be eligible for robust free programs while still maintaining a fund for the things that will provide them with the most comfort, dignity and independence.
- People who have children under the age of 18. Estate planning ensures that a trustee will be able to use funds to care for a minor child instead of any inheritance going through a guardianship court where it will be deposited in a savings account until the child turns 18.
- People who own real estate. Estate planning ensures your family will not have to sell your property if you become disabled, or go to probate court to sell the property after you die.
- People who have had children out of wedlock. In Illinois, only mothers are presumed to be parents of their children. As a father, create an estate plan to ensure your child inherits from you when you die.
- People who are retired and wish to protect their money from long-term care costs. If you go into a supportive living facility or memory care, you will be required to spend all your money to live there. Put your property into a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust instead, and keep all your money for a dignity fund for your family while you are alive, and an inheritance after you die.
- People with blended families (e.g. second marriages, step-children). Use an estate plan to make sure that even if your spouse inherits your property after death, that it will ultimately go to your children and not your step-children.
- People who are not married to their long-term partner. Common law marriage is not recognized in Illinois. Use an estate plan to ensure that your partner inherits what you’ve spent a lifetime building together.
If you fall into one of these categories and are wondering how an estate plan can benefit you, call us today for a free 15-minute consultation.