Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

Estate planning can seem overwhelming, causing many individuals to avoid the process altogether. Howard & Hardyman LLP can help you develop a secure plan and address any of your uncertainties. Below are some of our clients' most frequently asked questions to help you think through the process.

If you have additional questions, call our Rockford offices for dedicated estate planning assistance at 815-516-1549.

• Why Do You Need A Will?

• When Is It Useful To Have A Living Will?

• What's The Difference Between A Trust And A Will?

• How Can I Protect My Business With An Estate Plan?

• What Are My Duties As An Estate Executor?

Why Do You Need A Will?

A will is an important tool that provides the decision making power that you deserve. It allows you to establish how you would like to distribute your assets after death and designate who will inherit your property. A will also allows you to designate a guardian for any minor children you leave behind.

When Is It Useful To Have A Living Will?

A living will provides guidance to healthcare professionals for essential end-of-life treatment in the event of mental or physical incapacitation. Within your living will, you indicate your medical care and treatment preferences. This ensures that your wishes are known and executed. Living wills can also eliminate conflict between family members or guardians, who may disagree over the best method of care.

What's The Difference Between A Trust And A Will?

Your will only takes effect after you die, clearly establishes the fate of your assets and passes through probate. In contrast, a trust takes effect upon creation and transfers ownership to the trust. Within the trust, a trustee controls the assets for the persons that you designate as beneficiaries. Depending on your wishes, the trust beneficiaries commonly receive or get the benefit of the trust assets after your death. Transfers within a trust occur outside of the probate process, and can be an effective tool for avoiding probate and to maintain privacy.

How Can I Protect My Business With An Estate Plan?

If you fail to implement business succession planning, an owner's death can put your company in financial or legal jeopardy. Howard & Hardyman LLP can create secure trusts that directly transfer ownership to a designated heir or other individual and also bypass the probate process. We can discuss your business's current situation and develop a customized estate plan to preserve the value of your company for future generations.

What Are My Duties As An Estate Executor?

If you have been named as an estate's executor, you manage the deceased's estate. This includes an extensive list of duties, including locating assets, paying off outstanding debts, determining whether probate is necessary, distributing assets to heirs or legatees and correctly filing all paperwork with the courts. The process can quickly become overwhelming, and simple mistakes may be held against you. Our experienced attorneys will help guide you throughout the process and ensure that all steps are properly executed.

Contact Us For Knowledgeable Counsel

If you have questions about estate planning, and how it may benefit your family, call our experienced attorneys at 815-516-1549. You may also contact us online. Our lawyers have over 70 years of combined experience assisting Illinois families, and we can confidently guide you through all your estate planning concerns.