When most people think of “estate planning” they envision the creation of a Last Will and Testament. While your Will should serve as the foundation of your estate plan, it may not be sufficient to cover all of your estate planning needs. How do you know if you need more than a Last Will and Testament? The best way, of course, is to consult with an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney; however, you can also get a good idea of how extensive your estate plan needs to be by answering a few simple questions.
2. Is the value of your estate assets moderate to high?
Before you answer “no”, take the time to really assess your assets. Most people own more than they realize they do once they start adding up the value of equity in a home, investments, and other assets. If there is even a chance your estate may be subject to gift and estate tax when you die you should start including tax avoidance strategies in your estate plan now to avoid losing money to taxes later on.
3. Do you wish to have control over how your assets are used after they are gifted?
Once an asset is gifted in a Will you lose all control over the asset and its use. That same asset, however, placed in a trust can benefit your loved ones while still allowing you to retain a certain degree of control over the asset.
4. Do you own, or have an interest in, a business?
The vast majority of small businesses do not make the transition to the next generation, due largely to poor or non-existent estate planning.
5. Do you have a long-term care plan?
If not, you need one. Unless you can afford to pay upward of $80,000 a year for several years out of pocket for long-term care you should include long-term care planning – including Medicaid planning – in your estate plan.
6. Do you have an incapacity plan?
Incapacity could strike at any time. If it happens to you, who will make decisions for you and who will control your assets? The only way to answer those questions with any certainty is to include incapacity planning in your estate plan.
If you have additional questions or concerns about your Illinois estate plan, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash, Nash, Bean & Ford, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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