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Elgin estate planning and asset protection lawyerThe start of a new year is an appropriate time to devote focus to ensuring that your finances are in order for both the short and long term. This due diligence requires that you give adequate consideration to every resource capable of aiding you and your family in the protection of your assets. Besides savings accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, and investments in the stock market, estate planning is a tremendous resource in matters of asset protection. Devoting time now to careful estate planning focused on finances related to your business, health, and family can make all the difference in the future, allowing your intentions with regard to your assets to be followed correctly.

How Assets May Be at Risk

Three primary risks faced by assets are:

  • Government taxation
  • Commingling of business and personal assets
  • Capacity-related issues

As you may be aware from following recent political and legislative news, estate taxes are a subject of ongoing debate. Until recently, the federal exemption limit for estate taxes was roughly $5.6 million. This limit has been doubled under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, thereby prompting appropriate adjustments in individual estate planning. Importantly, however, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act concerns the federal exemption. Sound planning also requires that one account for the Illinois state level estate tax exemption, which is currently limited to approximately $4.0 million.

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Elgin special needs trust lawyerThe holiday season is a time to think of giving – of summoning the charitable impulses and good intentions that bring out the very best version of oneself. It is a time to be grateful for life’s blessings and to reach out and help those who are less fortunate. In doing so, estate planning is a powerful resource in helping others, whether they be family, friends, charities, or individuals in need in a local, regional, national, or global community. 

Estate planning is synonymous with wills and trusts. With regard to the latter, it is possible to create a special needs trust to benefit a disabled individual in your life.

A Trust is a Powerful and Flexible Asset Management Tool 

A trust is a legal agreement that designates both an individual to assume the role of “trustee” and one or more individuals as “beneficiaries.” A trustee will manage your property on behalf of designated beneficiaries at the time of your death or, if you become incapacitated, while you are still living but are no longer able to manage your property on your own. 

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Elgin estate planning lawyer trust administrationFor most people in the United States, it takes hard work and smart planning to save money and build assets throughout their lives. The effort and thoughtfulness does not stop there, however, if you intend to ensure that your family, loved ones, or valued charitable organizations will see the maximum benefit of your work and planning for the longest possible duration. Estate planning is a necessity for protecting your assets and realizing your intentions with regard to the distribution of your assets, whether during your lifetime or after your death. 

Just as you trust an accountant to assist with the finances of your business, a tax professional to assist with personal or business taxes, and investment experts to grow your assets at the pace and risk level which is right for you and your family, you can rely on an estate planning attorney to create a legally binding will or trust and follow the proper procedures for administering your estate.

Details are Many in Matters of Trust Administration

Much of the process of estate planning is concerned with transferring your assets to your heirs smoothly, without conflict, and with the minimum taxation allowed by law. It is a simple idea – you want your family, loved ones, and favorite charities to benefit as much as possible. While your intentions may be straightforward, however, the legal requirements for creating and administering a trust to transfer your assets to your heirs can be quite complex. 

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Geneva Estate Planning Charitable Trust AttorneyYou have worked hard your whole life, learning the value of a dollar and a day’s work from a young age. Perhaps you started your own neighborhood lawn care business in your teenage years, worked as a lifeguard at the city pool, or bagged groceries at a local store, setting about to secure your position in the world. Later on, you received a college education and pursued a career, putting in the work, day by day, week by week, month by month. 

That, as you know so very well, is the way most Americans support themselves, provide for their families, and save for the future. After many years of labor, you deserve an enjoyable retirement, as well as the opportunity to contemplate a meaningful distribution of your assets when the time comes. 

In addition to bequeathing financial assets, personal property, and real property to loved ones, you may wish to benefit a favorite charitable institution. Charitable causes are many – secular, religious, healthcare-related, devoted to the stewardship of our planet, working in the interest of socioeconomic equality, and so much more. If one or more charities are of great personal importance to you, the question, then, is how to ensure that they will indeed benefit from the resources you intend for them to receive. The answer to this question is estate planning.

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Elgin Estate Planning LawyerThinking about your plans for the assets in your estate should be a source of happiness – a reward for the hard work you’ve done and a testament to the family, friends, and other loved ones that fill your life with meaning. Strangely, even counter-intuitively, we all too often shy away from the subject of estate planning instead of embracing it and discovering the sense of security and happiness it can bring.  

Estate planning, when done properly, is something to be excited about. A legally valid will or trust is a means of ensuring that your assets and other resources flow to the individuals and institutions you wish to benefit when the time comes. Such legal instruments, then, are powerfully good things. 

At the same time, importantly, in the absence of a legally valid will or trust, the rules of intestate succession – the law’s “default rules” – will apply when it is time for the assets of your estate to be distributed. In this scenario, your estate may flow to family, relatives, or even the state – a distribution outcome that might be displeasing, to say the least, depending on both the relationships you value and the ones that you do not. As such, it is imperative that you take estate planning seriously and utilize the legal instruments necessary to ensure that the right people and organizations receive everything that you intend for them to receive.

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