Estate planning is a fundamental endeavor that most people should consider, whether or not the plan involves a huge estate and complex finances and needs. Some estate plans can be as simple as a last will and testament and power of attorney. Either way, having a Chicago IL estate planning attorney, such as us at James C. Provenza & Associates, P.C., can help create a legally compliant, comprehensive, and beneficial estate plan.
Although it is possible to create your plan without the help of an attorney, such an action can also lead to widespread and difficult problems later on. For instance, failing to draft a will with thorough and complete information can facilitate problems in probate court later on.
If you are planning your estate, or you need an experienced and compassionate attorney to create an estate planning unique to your needs, call Chicago IL estate attorney Provenza today at (847) 729-3939.
What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Actually Do?
As a basic definition, an estate planning lawyer is an experienced and licensed law professional who has a complete understanding of how state and federal law may affect your estate. Furthermore, an estate planning attorney can advise clients on how to get their affairs in order in preparation for death, mental disability (incapacity), and more.
Although the last will and testament is the most common estate planning tool, comprehensive planning involves much more than that. For instance, an attorney can:
- Create and draft your will
- Designate beneficiaries
- Establish a durable power of attorney, whether for financials or medical care
- Find ways to reduce or avoid estate taxes
- Find ways to ease or avoid probate court
- Set up trusts to protect your assets and benefit both you during your life as well as your beneficiaries
This list is certainly not exhaustive. At its core, the mission of your estate planning attorney should be to fully prepare your estate in the event of death or mental incapacitation, reduce applicable taxes, reduce the possibility of future conflict over your estate, and make sure that your wishes are carried out.
5 Ways an Illinois Estate Planning Attorney Can Help
DIY estate planning is an option for many individuals, especially if your estate doesn’t meet the federal or Illinois estate tax threshold ($5.49 million for federal and Illinois estates in 2017). Nonetheless, there are many risks with doing your estate planning by yourself. Below, we’ve included 5 ways that an Illinois estate planning attorney can help you and your wishes.
1. Helping You Avoid Problems in Illinois Probate
Probate court in Illinois can create a lot of hassle, especially because it can be expensive and time-consuming. For this reason, many individuals wish to avoid probate court all-together. One role of an Illinois estate planning attorney is to help you avoid probate in accordance with your wishes. Whether through gifts, death beneficiaries, joint property ownership, or through the most common method, trusts, your attorney can help you avoid probate as well as some estate taxes.
2. Providing Personalized, Compassionate Advice, Counsel, and Representation
When doing your taxes, for instance, having a professional CPA is essential to getting the best, most accurate results. The same is true with an estate planning lawyer. With years of experience working with many different types of clients and estates, an estate planning attorney has the insight and practical experience you need to achieve an optimal solution. Your attorney will adjust your estate plan based on your unique needs while carefully listening to provide expert-based, compassionate advice, counsel and representation.
3. Helping You Sort Out Complex Family or Financial Situations
In many cases, the client finds him/herself in a complicated family or financial situation. For this situations, it’s essential to apply customized and comprehensive legal tools. Some complex situations (from an estate planning POV) could include:
- You are in your second or subsequent marriages
- You own one or more businesses
- You have real estate in multiple states
- You have a disabled family member
- You have minor children
- You want to leave some or all of your estate to charity
- You have substantial 401(k)s and/or IRAs
- You were recently divorced
- You recently lost a spouse or family member
4. Helping You Implement the Best Legal Instruments for Your Situation
In some situations, a last will and testament might not be enough to fully cover your situation; in other situations, you may need several trusts. For these reasons, an experienced estate lawyer can determine how much heavy lifting your estate plan requires. Your lawyer can also search new or diverse instruments to provide a more thorough coverage.
5. Keeping Your Estate Updated and Keeping You Informed
Estate law in Illinois and throughout the U.S. change, and if you’re not following these changes, you may be in for some good or bad surprises. Nevertheless, you have your life to live, and probably not a substantial amount of time to keep up-to-date with estate law. Furthermore, small changes in your family, your assets, or even your location may require changes in your estate plan. A lawyer can help keep you informed, and your estate updated.
Contact Chicago Estate Planning Attorney Provenza Today
Your estate needs to be left in good hands to make sure that your wishes are fulfilled, your estate moves to the beneficiaries, and you take the most advantageous route. By getting Chicago estate attorney Provenza on your side, you can expect one of the leading experts in the Chicago area. To see what we can do for your estate, give us a call at (847) 729-3939.