Having a proper estate plan is the key to your family’s financial future after your death. While it may not be something that you like to think about, you have the right to determine what is done with your personal property and assets after you move on.
The collection of documents that provide instructions for how this is to be done is known as an estate plan. These plans include testamentary documents such as wills and trusts, but also include more nuanced items such as insurance plans, annuities, and even business succession plans.
Understanding the Naperville estate planning process is essential to effective estate planning. A Naperville attorney could help to create a new plan, modify an existing one, and implement a plan after a person’s death.
Creating a new estate plan is never something that a person should take lightly. A proper estate plan determines the fate of a party’s money, property, and stake in businesses. There are many tools that a person may use to care for their estate. These include:
Classic examples of wills and trusts only have an effect once a testator passes. These documents control every part of a person’s estate. However, these are rarely the only documents that exert this control.
For example, a life insurance policy operates independently of a person’s will. If that policy names a person as a beneficiary, that person collects the payment regardless of a will’s language. As a result, creating a new estate plan requires a person to take measure of all their assets to create continuity in case of a sudden tragedy.
Of course, any existing estate plan could be modified. For instance, a person may modify a will by destroying an old one or by placing specific language in a new will, stating that the updated will is the final version. Similar processes control modifications to trusts and other testamentary objects.
A person may also change the beneficiary of a life insurance or annuity plan at any time. Oftentimes, this is a simple matter of getting in touch with that plan’s company and requesting the change in writing. A Naperville attorney could help to identify any needed changes to a person’s estate plan and to take the necessary steps to ensure that their current plan reflects their desires.
Ensuring that a person’s estate plan goes into effect after their death could be a tricky proposition. In cases where a person’s estate is worth less than $100,00 and contains no real estate, the court could accept a simple affidavit to distribute property under 755 ILCS 5/25-1.
However, as most people with a formal estate plan do not fit this category, it may be necessary to submit the estate to formal probate. The term probate simply refers to the process whereby the administrator of the decedent’s estate must take care to meet the terms of the decedent’s wishes. According to 755 ILCS 5/5-1, this administrator has a duty to endure that all property, money, and other assets go to where the estate demands that they go. A Naperville estate lawyer could help to provide guidance to administrators or even to serve in this capacity upon a death.
Crafting a proper estate plan involves delving into every part of your life. From the real estate that you own, to your personal property, to money in bank accounts, to the presence of life insurance policies: you must consider what is to be done upon your death.
Many estates involve no more than a simple will. This could help to provide general guidance but does not include any other legally binding documents such as insurance plans, annuities, business succession plans, or pensions. In fact, a person’s estate comprises their entire financial life.
A Naperville estate planning lawyer could help to provide guidance as to how to proceed with an estate plan. If you have no current plan, an attorney could help to measure your assets and to create documents that meet your goals. They could also work to modify any existing plans to meet your current needs. Finally, an attorney could help with the administration of an estate after your death. Contact a Naperville lawyer today to discuss your options.