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Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid If You Live in Illinois

 Posted on September 21, 2023 in Uncategorized

Schaumburg Divorce LawyerProper estate planning is crucial for everyone. It is important to know and avoid common mistakes. Being proactive and strategic with your estate plan allows you to efficiently transfer assets to chosen beneficiaries and provide for loved ones. Working with an Illinois estate planning attorney can help streamline the process for you.

Not Creating a Customized Will

A primary mistake is never creating a will customized to your specific situation. Having a properly drafted will prevents assets from having to go through lengthy court-supervised probate and allows you to distribute property according to your wishes. It also lets you name a guardian for minor children.

Underestimating the Probate Process

Many people underplan for probate, the court-led process of asset distribution after someone dies. Even a simple estate can take over a year to go through probate. You can avoid probate through advanced strategies like creating a revocable living trust. 

Not Transferring Assets to a Living Trust

Even if you create a living trust, a common error is failing to re-title assets in the trust's name. Having the document drafted is not enough—you must formally fund it by changing ownership of property like real estate, vehicles, financial accounts, and more.

Be sure to work with your lawyer to fund your trust appropriately. Keep detailed records of assets transferred into the trust for easier estate administration later.

Neglecting to Update Beneficiary Choices

Beneficiary designations made years ago could be outdated after life changes like marriage, divorce, or new children. These designations dictate inheritance of assets like retirement accounts and life insurance policies upon your death. It is wise to reevaluate beneficiaries after major life events to ensure your wishes are followed. Your attorney can help you review and update beneficiary information as needed.

Holding Jointly Owned Assets

Joint bank accounts and co-owned real estate between spouses are common. But upon one spouse’s death, their share typically must go through probate before the survivor can take full ownership. There may be alternative options, like creating accounts with rights of survivorship. Discuss asset titling decisions with your lawyer to plan properly.

Forgetting Digital Assets

Many people do not outline succession plans for digital assets and online accounts. This prevents families from accessing valuable information. You can set up social media legacy contacts, use password managers, and provide your executor a list of accounts and login credentials. In our digital age, planning for online assets is essential.

Contact a Schaumburg, IL Family Law Attorney

Estate planning is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. To help with the process and make it easier on you, contact a DuPage County, IL estate planning lawyer to get started. Call Anderson Attorneys, P.C. at 847-850-8899 to begin with a free consultation.

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