Bassett Law Office, P.C.
Offering exceptional client service in Wood River, Illinois.
Toll-Free : 866-670-1382 Phone : 618-216-5217

Madison County Illinois Estate Planning Blog

What is a special needs trust and why might you need one?

There are many components to think about when you are creating your estate plan. One of these is trusts, which help you to transfer assets to your loved ones without them having to use the will and probate court to get this done. If you decide that you are going to establish trusts, there are a few things that you have to think about before you can do this.

Trusts come in many forms, and each one serves a different purpose. Consider your goals and the recipient's circumstances when deciding what type of trust you are going to establish. If you have a loved one who relies on needs-based assistance to make ends meet, a special needs trust can enable you to help provide for their care without impacting their eligibility for those programs.

Talk to your family about your estate plan

Having an estate plan is a must for all adults, but some might not discuss the contents of the plan with anyone. This can leave your loved ones confused and wondering what you were thinking when you created the plan. A better option is to have at least a brief discussion with them while you are still living so they can ask questions and clarify any points they aren't sure about.

You don't have to speak to everyone as a group. You can use individual conversations so you have the ability to customize the talk to each person. As a general guide, you should discuss this with everyone in the estate plan, as well as those who might think they are in it but actually aren't.

Why do I need a health care power of attorney?

So you drafted your will and funded a small trust for the grandkids' college expenses. You are relieved that your estate planning duties are now complete. But not so fast! You forgot one very important document.

No estate plan is complete without a signed heath care power of attorney on file. Sometimes referred to as a health care proxy, these documents appoint an individual who can act in your stead and make decisions about the type of health care and resuscitative efforts you will receive after you become incapacitated and can no longer make those decisions on your own.

Adults over 50 should have medical care plans in place

Around 45 percent of people who are 55 or older don't have an estate plan in place. This puts their family members in a precarious position because they might not know what their loved one wants. Instead of leaving their final days and the disposition of their assets to chance, all Americans in this age group should take the time to create an estate plan.

When you don't have an estate plan in place, a few things happen. You won't have any say in what happens with your health care or finances in your final days. You also won't be able to decide who is going to get your assets when you pass away. As a general guideline, adults should have a plan for all of this in place by the time they are 50 years old.

3 reasons to work with an estate-planning attorney

You have probably heard that it is possible to plan your own estate using will kits or other do-it-yourself techniques. The truth is that it is possible to establish your estate and to maintain it that way, but the likelihood is that there will be mistakes and that there is a possibility that your estate and will won't hold up in court.

When you spend time, energy and money on an estate, you don't want to have to worry about its legality. By hiring an estate attorney, you can make sure that your will and estate follow the laws in Illinois and are corrected for your current situation.

The majority of Americans don't even have a will

A will is the most basic part of any estate plan. It forms the foundation of that plan, dividing assets and leaving them to specific heirs. It should, theoretically, get coupled with things like a legal power of attorney, an advance directive and a medical power of attorney.

As important as it is, most people do not have a will. Reports show that about 60 percent of people in the United States have failed to draft one.

If you have children, you need to consider estate planning now

Far too many people put off estate planning until they have to confront a reminder of their own mortality. Whether it is the death of a parent or a major medical event, it can take dramatic life experiences to inspire most people to plan for the end of their life. Some people end up waiting too long and actually die without having a last will in place.

If you have children, you do not have the luxury of delaying this critical planning. The safety of your children, as well as their financial future, depends on your ability to plan for a worst-case scenario and keep them safe. The sooner you tackle important estate planning concerns, the more secure your family will be.

Why you should avoid do-it-yourself wills

When it is time to draft your will, you might be tempted to just grab a do-it-yourself kit and try to handle things at home. This usually isn't a good idea because it is difficult to condense complex estate planning objectives into a simple document like the ones offered in the kits. There is a chance that your DIY attempt might end up causing you a lot of stress. Ultimately, your will might not achieveo what you want it to accomplish.

You may think that any will is better than no will, but you should consider what might happen if someone contests your DIY will. Is it going to stand up to the challenge? Does it leave room for question about your intent?

These areas are priorities for your estate plan

Your estate plan is a multifaceted tool that helps your loved ones distribute your assets when you are gone, but there is much more to this tool than that. You can also let your loved ones know what you want in your final days if you can't speak up for yourself.

When you are getting your estate plan together, you must be ready to do more than create a will. Here are some of the other things to think about when you are preparing for the process:

What does an executor do?

There are sometimes several people involved with the creation of a will: The deceased, their attorney, their family members, and their friends or other loved ones. All of these people can contribute to making the will a relevant, legally enforceable document. Often, one of these people will play another very important role-- as the executor. 

Before making a will, many people are not aware of the necessity of an executor. But as you proceed with the estate planning process, you will find out just how important the executor can be for an estate. Here, we will discuss what you should know about executors of the will.


Bassett Law Office PC
16 W. Lorena Avenue
Wood River, IL 62095

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Toll Free: 866-670-1382
Phone: 618-216-5217
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