What is "Estate Planning?"
Estate planning is arranging a person's property and estate, taking into account the laws of wills and trusts to maximize the value of the estate, minimize estate taxes and expenses, eliminate guardianship, eliminate probate, and carry out the person's wishes for the disposition of their assets.
What's the difference between a "will" and a "living trust?"
Basically, a will goes through probate in order to transfer your property after your death. A living trust avoids property guardianship if you become incapacitated and transfers your property upon death without probate. There are many other differences - see our handout for more details.
Who needs a living trust?
Estate planning with a living trust is a good idea for everyone but especially for the following:
1. If you have an estate over $100,000 and want to avoid probate upon death and avoid property guardianship upon disability;
2. If you have real estate in multiple states;
3. If you have separate children from previous marriages (and don’t want your children to be accidentally disinherited);
4. If you are infirmed or elderly;
5. If you are a parent with minor children (including disabled or special needs children);
6. If you have a large estate and want to avoid federal estate taxes and Illinois estate taxes;
7. If you have married children and want to protect your
child’s inheritance from themselves or from divorcing spouses or lawsuits.
What does a complete living trust centered estate plan include?
A solid living trust-centered estate plan includes the following:
- Revocable Living Trust (with A/B Family/Marital Trust planning to minimize estate taxes)
- Pour Over Will (in case you leave something out of trust)
- Power of Attorney for Property
- Power of Attorney for Health Care (for your agent to make health care decisions for you)
- Living Will
- An attorney (to answer your questions and help make sure your estate plan works as planned)
What kind of law does your law firm do?
The practice of the Law Firm of Kuczek & Associates (pronounced "cue-zack") is limited to estate planning - wills and trusts. That's all we do.
How long has Kuczek & Associates been in business?
The Law Firm of Kuczek & Associates was founded in 1984 by Ted Kuczek. Robert Brandt joined the firm in 1995. Michelle Macas joined the firm in 2005. Danielle Kuhn joined the firm in 2017. The firm has drafted over 3,400 revocable living trust-centered estate plans for Illinois families.
To learn more, what's the next step?
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of a living trust, go to our For Prospective Clients page. We offer a complimentary initial meeting.