2000 McDonald Road, Suite 200 | South Elgin, IL 60177

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Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel P.C.


Kane County Lawyers for Estate Planning and Wealth Protection

kane county estate planning lawyer

Estate Planning Attorneys for Wills, Trusts, Probate, and Guardianships in Elgin IL

The legal team at Ariano Hardy Ritt Nyuli Richmond Lytle & Goettel, P.C. (AHR) has been creating comprehensive estate plans for clients for over three decades. Our lawyers help you plan and document the allocation of your assets, based on your wishes when you pass away. It is important to formulate written plans that clearly indicate your intentions, which may consist of wills, trusts, designation of life insurance beneficiaries, powers of attorney, and more. This ensures your intentions are realized and limits potential disputes among heirs, preserves assets, and prevents unnecessary taxation. We can assist you with any number of estate planning documents in order to help protect your loved ones and prepare for the future.

Wills and Trusts

A will is a document defining how a person's assets will be allocated after death and is governed by Illinois law. Individuals must be 18 years old and mentally competent to create a will, which must be completed in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses. A will designates the beneficiaries of assets and names an executor to manage the process of identifying heirs and legatees, paying legitimate debts distributing assets to the person(s) indicated in your last will and testament. After death, a will is brought to the court to confirm validity prior to carrying out the provisions listed.

A trust is an agreement that designates an individual to act as a "trustee." Trustees manage your property and assets on behalf of a beneficiary if you become incapacitated or die, and also avoid the need for probate. Trusts made while alive are "living trusts," and those contained within a will are "testamentary trusts." Trustees may be individuals or firms entering the trust. Their names are placed on said property and assets.

Trust Administration

Creating and administering trusts may involve some of the following duties:

  • Working with beneficiaries to explain the trust settlement process
  • Asset inventory and appraisal
  • Collecting and paying debts
  • Preparing and filing all needed taxes returns including income tax and estate tax returns
  • Sales of property
  • Collection and distribution of life insurance benefits
  • Preparing an annual accounting for all trust financial transactions to circulate to beneficiaries as required by Illinois law
  • Handling any possible IRS audit
  • Preparing a plan of division for assets held in trust
  • Interpreting the provisions of the trust
  • Distributing all assets as directed by the declaration of trust

Special Needs Trusts

Trusts benefiting disabled individuals are "special needs trusts." Disabled individuals cannot legally have their own trusts. Rather than having the disabled individual as the named beneficiary, a trustee is designated to manage the assets within the trust. Ordinarily, disabled individuals qualify for benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. These benefit programs are designed for those with minimal financial resources; therefore, an inheritance directly bequeathed could jeopardize their eligibility and disrupt the longstanding services they receive.


Generally, when someone who has a last will and testament or does not have a last will and testament dies, the assets and property proceed through probate. This is the process of transferring the decedent's property which is overseen by the court. Individuals who die with a last will and testament are said to have died "testate," while dying without a last will and testament is referred to as dying "intestate." A personal representative is responsible for managing this process. If a will exists, this person is known as the executor; however, if no named executor exists, the court appoints an administrator.


If a minor's parents or guardians abruptly die or became unable to care for them, courts may execute the guardianship process. Guardianships may also be needed if an adult becomes disabled or incapacitated. The court-appointed guardian acts on behalf of the minor or disabled adult ("ward"); this is done according to court directives and with the ward's best interests in mind.

Asset Protection

Both the federal and state governments have laws pertaining to estate and gift taxes. Currently, the federal government applies an estate tax to those estates which exceed a $5.49 million threshold. In Illinois, this threshold is $4.0 million. Oftentimes, these rules are referred to as "death taxes." Gift taxes apply when a person gives someone a gift which exceeds $14,000 in a year (referred to as the "annual gift tax exclusion amount").

However, asset protection is not limited to only protection from estate taxes. Our attorneys routinely provide asset protection components within estate plans, that after death, protect inheritances to your children and loved ones from creditors or questionable sons-in-law or daughter-in-law.

The attorneys at AHR have been advising clients on income, gift, and estate tax-related matters for over 35 years. There are various legal strategies that we can employ to protect and preserve assets as part of an overall comprehensive estate plan. For a free consultation, contact our office at 847-695-2400.

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