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Kendall County Will and Trust LawyerGiving to charity through an estate plan allows a person to leave a lasting impact beyond their own lifetime. Charitable trusts are one of the most powerful and effective estate planning tools for those who want to give back to those in need. A charitable trust is an irrevocable trust that provides tax benefits for both the donor and the charity receiving the funds. If you are interested in giving money or other assets to charity, work with an estate planning lawyer who can provide the guidance you need.

Basics of Charitable Trusts in Illinois

When you create a charitable trust, it must be in writing and must meet the criteria set by Illinois law. It must also meet the qualifications of a charitable organization, which means that it must have an independent board to oversee investments, spending, and donations. The trust should specify the types of charities that can receive funds from it, as well as any restrictions for those contributions.

Benefits of Charitable Trusts

Charitable trusts offer tax breaks for the donor. The donor is entitled to deductions on their income tax return for any contributions made through the trust. In addition, since the funds are given directly to charity, there are no capital gains taxes due when the funds are distributed from the trust.

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Kendall County Estate Planning LawyerIt is important for everyone to have a last will and testament. A will allows you to determine exactly how your assets are distributed to loved ones after you pass away. Furthermore, having your wishes established in writing prevents family members and other loved ones from having to guess how you would want asset distribution handled.

Unfortunately, even the most detailed will cannot completely eliminate the chances of someone being upset regarding the will’s directives. Family members may feel that they were given an unfair share of your estate or otherwise disagree with the decisions you have made. They may contest the will in court, claiming that the will is not valid and should be thrown out.

If you are worried about people contesting your will after your death, one option you have in Illinois is a “no contest” clause.

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oswego estate planning lawyerGenerally, leaving behind no will (intestacy) is a poor idea. Even if the people who ultimately inherit from you under intestacy law are the people you would have wanted to inherit from you, not having a will or a trust that controls your estate property is going to make things more difficult for them. It is not easy to pass an intestate estate through the probate courts. There is a high level of court supervision involved in this process, and this can slow things down significantly. It could take a year or more in some cases before your surviving family members can claim anything that belonged solely to you. Intestacy is meant to be the “default” estate plan. It is designed to match what the state thinks you probably would have wanted but is rife with imperfections. If you do not already have an estate plan, the time to speak to an attorney is now. 

Understanding Illinois Intestacy Code

Any portion of your estate that is subject to probate will be distributed - eventually - according to the laws of intestacy. These laws are meant to prioritize your closest living relatives, but cannot take into account the nuances of your family’s relationships and needs. 

Generally, if you leave behind a spouse and descendants, your spouse will inherit half your estate, and your descendants will split the other half. Usually, this means that half will be divided among your children. However, if one of your children predeceased you but left a grandchild, the grandchild will inherit the share that would have been their parents. If you are already confused, you are not alone. 

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Establishing a Trust in Oswego

Posted on in Estate Planning

oswego estate planningEstate plans specify how assets are handled after a person’s death or during a person’s incapacitation. This preparation provides a family with peace of mind and can help eliminate the burden of possible lengthy probate proceedings and costly legal fees. A will not only outlines how an estate is allocated but also assigns the executor. If the dependents are children, estate planning can determine guardianship.

Without a valid will, the person who died is considered to have died intestate, designating the state as the executor. The state then determines the recipients and handles the estate distribution according to state law. A detailed, legitimate will is essential if you wish your assets to be distributed a certain way. A will has ilmitations, so establishing trusts further protects one’s wishes. An estate planning attorney can explain the different types of trusts and help select the ones suitable to a client’s needs. 

Differences Between Trusts and Wills

Unlike a will, a trust takes effect immediately. In a trust, the trustor must transfer their property into the trusts, while a will only entails listing the estate and recipients. Transferring real estate property into a trust often necessitates retitling the property. 

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Kendall County Estate Planning LawyerDuring the estate planning process, many people will focus on the legacy they will leave behind and how they can use their assets to provide for their loved ones. However, an estate plan can also address how certain matters will be handled during a person’s lifetime, including how their assets will be managed and how their medical treatment will be handled as they get older. Making decisions about these issues can be especially important for elderly adults, and a person will want to make sure their needs will be met and their wishes will be followed, no matter what happens. One of the best ways of doing so is to create durable powers of attorney.

What Is a Durable Power of Attorney?

As a person gets older, or if they encounter a situation where they need assistance from others, they can create powers of attorney and name a person they trust who will be able to make certain decisions for them. When a person creates this type of legal agreement, they will name an “agent” who is authorized to make decisions on their behalf. The agent may be a family member or close friend, and the person may grant their agent broad authority to do what they believe is best, or they may provide specific instructions for how certain issues should be handled.

Powers of attorney come in two types. A power of attorney for health care will address medical and personal issues, and an agent may be given the authority to make decisions about the types of medical treatment that will or will not be provided in certain situations, as well as whether the person will be admitted to a hospital, mental health facility, or nursing home. A power of attorney for property or finances will address issues related to a person’s money and assets, and an agent may be given authority to manage the person’s finances, pay expenses, apply for benefits, conduct business transactions, or make investment decisions.

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