Fox Valley Estate Planning Blog

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If you have found yourself on this page, you have read the article, How Well Can You Answer Some Common Estate Planning Questions? If you are thinking about doing estate planning yourself using one of the available online estate planning kits, you should have some confidence in your understanding of estate planning to do it yourself. This little quiz is a good test. I see many examples on a weekly basis of people who make…
The Internet has opened up the world for do-it-yourselfers, including the option do your own estate planning.  People have saved a tremendous amount of money by “Googling it” and finding how-to videos and instructions on all kinds of things. From alternatives to medicine that promise relief from ailment and good health to do-it-yourself Will kits, there is something for everyone. On the subject of Wills and estate planning, specifically, many resources, Like Legal Zoom, have…
Anyone who is thinking about estate planning thinks (or should be thinking) about probate. Probate is the term that generally describes the administration of an estate of a deceased person. Probate is also the process for administrating the estate of a deceased person that is established in the State Probate Act.  That process is handled through the court system. Probate is not the only way to handle an estate. It is the default process –…
Most people help their children when their children need help, even when they are adults. Sometimes that means making “loans” to them. You should think about how to handle gifts or loans to children in a Will or Trust. Your family will thank you for it! Imagine that your son’s car breaks down, and he needs a car to get to work. Student loan debt and the cost of living puts your daughter behind on…
Trusts are very robust and handy estate planning tools. If you are not familiar with trusts, perhaps you should read some articles that explain what trusts are (See Trusts Compared to Corporations; The Benefits of Living Trusts; and Avoiding Probate is a Matter of Trust) Even if you are familiar with trusts, the difference between revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts may remain a mystery. Both kinds of trusts, however, are considered “living…
Trusts are very robust and handy estate planning tools. If you are not familiar with trusts, perhaps you should read some articles that explain what trusts are (See Trusts Compared to Corporations; The Benefits of Living Trusts; and Avoiding Probate is a Matter of Trust) Even if you are familiar with trusts, the difference between revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts may remain a mystery. In this article, I will explain the difference between revocable trusts…
Some significant changes affecting trusts have come to Illinois with the New Year. Effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Trust Code replaced the Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act. One of the biggest areas of change involves the duty of a trustee to provide an accounting. One of the hallmarks of the fiduciary duty that applies to the trustees of a trust (and to other fiduciaries) is the duty to provide an accounting. This has always…
It’s no secret that having a family isn’t cheap. Expenses increase with each addition, and things you never thought were needed in your home suddenly become a necessity. The moment you realize you’re about to become a parent, you can start planning for the financial changes that will come with the new addition to your household. Take a Look at Your Finances You should look at your financial situation in two steps: How much more…
I’ve seen it time and time again. A client comes in who has added a son, or a daughter, or a grandchild, or a niece or nephew, or someone else to the client’s bank account… or that is the client’s plan. It seems like a good idea. It gives another person access to the bank account for the payment of bills and other obligations. If anything happens to the account holder, the other person added…
Fear of Estate Planning, as in doing a Will or Trust (or both) is a common malady. Everyone knows they should do something, but few people know exactly what that something is they should be doing. Fear of the unknown often keeps people from doing what they know they should do. That “something” we should begin doing starts with learning what we don’t know so that we know what we should be doing. There is…