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West Dundee, IL847-428-7725
St. Charles, IL630-200-4882
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Kane County estate planning attorneyCoronavirus is a global pandemic that has impacted individuals all over the world. Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order through April 30 to slow the spread of the highly contagious virus. Non-essential businesses are temporarily closed, such as schools, shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, and bars. Many people may be wondering if they can still take certain legal action during the order. Law practices are considered essential business, and many firms are utilizing video conferencing to ensure the health and safety of their clients. Although meetings and consultations can be performed virtually, you may have questions or concerns about signing and witnessing important legal documents, such as wills and trusts. If you have an estate planning matter that needs to be resolved, it is still essential to seek professional legal counsel. 

Estate Planning Documents

It is important to plan ahead for your future to make sure your wishes are followed in the event you become incapacitated or pass away. Some of the most common estate planning tools include:

  • Last Will and Testament: A will is a legal document that names an executor to your estate, gives instructions on how your property should be distributed, and designates a guardian for any minor children you have.
  • Living Trust: There are several types of trusts, which can be created for different purposes. A revocable trust is commonly known as a living trust. This document can be changed, altered, modified, or revoked during the grantor’s lifetime. An irrevocable trust cannot be easily changed in order to protect the property from creditors while the grantor is alive. Trusts are commonly used for purposes such as avoiding probate, limiting negative tax implications, and preserving inheritance for your offspring.

Signing and Witnessing Requirements

Under Illinois law, specific legal documents must be signed in the presence of a witness, including wills and trusts. This means that someone must be physically present when the documents are signed. There are generally two types of witnesses: a notary, who is certified, and a document witness, who can be anyone. For example, when signing a will, you need at least two document witnesses to your signature. These must be individuals who are “uninterested parties,” which means they are not named as beneficiaries.  

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Geneva estate planning attorneyAccidents and major life changes can happen at any moment; nobody is able to predict when something serious will occur. If an emergency arises, you may need another individual to speak on your behalf to carry out your wishes. By arranging things ahead of time, you could have a trusted delegate in place making decisions regarding your health and financials. Establishing a power of attorney (POA) is an imperative step to ensure your affairs are being handled in the manner that you wish.

Selecting a Power Of Attorney

The state of Illinois recognizes two different types of POAs: a medical POA and a financial POA, also called a POA for property. Choosing your agent depends on which type of POA you are considering.

The responsibilities differ for each POA, so here are some general guidelines for making an appropriate selection:

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West Dundee Estate Lawyer

Most people know they should create a will to take care of their assets and carry out their wishes when they pass away. It is often easy to make mistakes during estate planning because people view it as morbid or think they will not die anytime soon so they do not need it. 

It may also be necessary to create a trust as well as a will. A trust is a legal entity in which a third party (trustee) manages assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Beneficiaries are often children but do not have to be. It is crucial to avoid these common mistakes many people make while they are planning an estate. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Kane County prenup lawyerWhen two people get married, they pledge to spend the rest of their lives together. Sometimes it does not work out that way, and they want to get a divorce. Couples who enter into divorce proceedings may worry they will be left with nothing. If that is a concern you have prior to getting married, it may be beneficial to craft a prenuptial agreement.

The need for a prenup can vary depending on the couple and the state in which you live. Illinois law divides property equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. Equitable division of property looks at numerous factors to determine what is fair to both parties. A prenup can be used as one of the factors which determines how the court will divide property and debts during a divorce in Illinois.

Each couple’s situation is different, so it is a good idea to take stock of your finances if you are considering a prenup agreement. You will need that information for the agreement anyway, and it can be a helpful exercise to fully understand the breadth of your financial situation.

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Carpentersville estate planning wills attorneyIt is important to make a last will and testament when you are planning your estate. A will ensures that your family members will be the legal owners of any property or assets you wish to pass on to them. It also explains any other wishes you might have for what should happen after your death. Personal items, real estate, and vehicles are the most common assets to include in a will. However, wills may also include provisioning for guardianship of children, investments, or business assets. 

Preparing your will is a necessary part of planning for what happens after you die, but not everyone has a chance to make those choices. If a person passes away unexpectedly and has not made a will, the government will need to get involved. 

Intestate Wills

If a person dies without creating and executing a last will and testament, their estate will pass to their family members through a process called “intestate succession.” The state will handle the provisioning of the deceased’s estate to their spouse or heirs. Before the intestate succession process can proceed, the estate will be used to pay for any debts the deceased acquired during their life. The process for intestate succession in Illinois is laid out below: 

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