Illinois Wills & Trusts
Creating and Executing an Appropriate and Effective Estate Plan
A will is the written declaration of a person’s wishes for his or her property after death. A will governs and distributes only “probate property.” It names an executor (the person who will handle the financial affairs of your estate) and can name guardians for minor children, establish a testamentary trust, and waive expensive surety bond costs.
A trust is an agreement with respect to the management of assets. One person, “the trustee,” holds property for the benefit of “the beneficiary.” The person who creates the trust is called the “settlor,” the “trustor,” or the “creator.” Trusts are often utilized to avoid probate. Trusts can facilitate the division of property ownership among different owners, now and in the future.
Wills & Trusts Legal Services
Hays Firm’s Chicago attorneys can provide the following wills + trusts legal services
Hays Firm LLC estate planning lawyers offer consultation about your personal estate planning goals.
REVIEW OF EXISTING DOCUMENTS
We will review any wills and trusts that you have previously executed.
AMEND EXISTING ESTATE PLANS
If necessary, we work with you to amend your existing will or trust.
CREATE NEW ESTATE PLANS
We create estate plans including wills, trusts, and power of attorney documents that meet our clients’ goals.
EXECUTE NEW ESTATE PLANS
We will assist in the signing of the new will and trust in accordance with the law.
After you execute the new estate plan, we offer periodic reviews of your plan.
GUIDANCE FOR TRUSTEES
We offer legal advice to trustees as they perform their duties.
More Info About Wills and Trusts Services
What is a Will and Do I need One?
A will governs the distribution of property which a person owns at the time of death. It does not include accounts (and insurance policies) which name a beneficiary. A will is beneficial as it can: (1) appoint the person or entity that will control the administration of the estate; (2) name the guardians for minor children; (3) waive the requirement that the representative obtain an expensive surety bond. It is recommended that all individuals have a will in place because it provides clarity to your loved ones after you die, specifies who you want your estate representative to be, and reduces the costs of estate administration.
What is a Trust and do I need a one?
Whether you or your family need a trust depends on a variety of factors. A trust is an agreement that manages your real property and other assets. In a trust, “the trustee,” holds property for the benefit of another, “the beneficiary.” Trusts can be useful even for people of the most modest of incomes or means. A trustee can be a person, or it can be a bank. Similarly, the beneficiary can be a person, several persons, or it can be an organization like a church, charity, or a for-profit business.
What happens if I do not have a Will or a Trust?
If you die without leaving a will, your assets will be distributed according to the law of the state in which you die. If you have property that is owned jointly, such as a house or a bank account, this property will go straight to the joint owner without the need for a probate estate. Assets that are considered “probate assets” will be distributed to your heirs as set forth by state law.
What is a Living Trust?
A living trust is a type of trust agreement that may be changed or amended by the trustee.
What is a Land Trust?
In a land trust, individuals place their real property (usually their homes) into a trust. A bank or a title company typically acts as the trustee of land trusts. The only asset that is owned and managed by the land trust is typically a single piece of property.
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