Wills & Trusts
No matter your age, it is a good idea to start planning your estate. The main component of an estate is your will or living trust, depending on which option you choose. However, an estate also comprises of determining a Power of Attorney and guardianship. At Kaiser, Shepherd & Nakon, P.C. in Wauconda, IL, we work with clients throughout the surrounding areas, helping them with the documentation to ensure that your estate is thorough, legal and continually updated as time continues and situations change. By creating an estate, you can ensure that your wishes will be carried out and that your loved ones will be protected financially.
Helping You Plan & Create Your Estate
A will is a document that lays out your wishes for to whom your property, assets, and belongings will go after your passing. We will work with you to ensure that this document is thorough and legally binding so that it will hold up in court during probate. This way, your family will not face any additional stress or tension due to disputes over your will. We can also review your current will and determine if any updates need to be made.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is not the same as a Last Will and Testament. A living will is simply someone’s expression of their wishes that their life should not be artificially prolonged, when qualified medical evaluations have determined that continued care is only death delaying and not curative or in the best interest of the patient. A living will is often part of an estate plan.
A living trust, unlike a will, does not need to go through probate in court. The living trust is a document that helps you to manage your property, as you place all of your assets into a trust. At the time of your death or your inability to manage your property, your “successor trustee”, whom you will choose, will carry out your written wishes as to whom your property and assets should be distributed. This can all take place without need of a court. We will ensure that your living trust is thorough and legal, and we are also able to review your current plan to see if it requires updating.
Should I have a Will or a Trust?
Answer: Yes, you should have a Will or a Trust, so that there is no question as to what your intentions are. Not everyone needs a Trust, though. That may depend on the nature and location of the assets that you have (such as real estate outside of Illinois) and family issues such as family members with disabilities and even second marriages. Remember that if you name someone either a joint owner, beneficiary or transfer on death to an asset, that that designation is not overridden by a Will or Trust.
Will a Revocable Trust protect my assets if I am sued?
Probably not. Revocable living trusts are estate planning tools and not shields against personal liability. With a Revocable Trust, the person who creates the trust usually retains control over the trust assets. Accordingly, the assets within the Revocable Trust are usually subject to the trust creator’s creditors.
Other Estate Planning Services
Powers of Attorney
A Power of Attorney is the person you designate to manage your finances in the case that you are mentally or physically no longer able to. Depending on your wishes, the Power of Attorney can also hold other responsibilities, such as serving as your Health Care Proxy, in which case they would be able to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so.
What are Durable Powers of Attorney?
Durable Powers of Attorney in Illinois come in two separate forms. One is to assist in making health care decisions when you are unable to make your wishes known and the other is for managing your personal business which could be buying and selling property or simply paying your bills.
Probate & Guardianship
If you have a family member who has passed away, probate proceedings may be required. Probate is the process by which a court verifies a will. Our attorneys can assist with sorting out the procedure for administering an estate or trust, and we can discuss alternatives. We can also help you negotiate the process of guardianship in the case that the deceased has left behind a minor or an adult with severe mental or physical disabilities.