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Wills and trusts are key to unlocking peace of mind re estates

Many Illinois residents are currently researching ways to protect their families' best interests when they're no longer here to care for them. Parents of young children, especially, may be concerned about who would care for their children if something were to happen to both parents. Such matters can be quite worrisome if one does not know how to access available resources to formulate a solid estate plan. However, with appropriate guidance and key documents, such as wills and trusts, parents can proceed in life confident that their children's future needs will be met.

Wills and trusts are two of the most important documents parents can include in their estate plans. Even younger parents can benefit from doing so; after all, although most people in good general health expect to live through their Golden Years, there is no guarantee this will happen and it's always better to be as prepared as possible for the unexpected. Most people think of property and assets when they think of wills; however, a will can also be used to designate legal guardians for children who will otherwise be placed in situations a probate court decides is best, should parents die without having addressed the issue in writing.

Any inheritance parents may want to leave their children can be written into a will as well. A living trust may also be used to help family members avoid probate and to transfer property to one or more people after an estate owner's death. Revocable trusts are particularly convenient because they can be changed at any time preceding an estate owner's death.

Some Illinois residents choose to keep their estate plans very simple, including nothing more than these two documents. Others opt for incorporating powers of attorney, or letters of instruction that provide specific details regarding one's wishes for memorial service, burial, etc., when the time comes. Any parent seeking guidance as to what documents (besides wills and trusts) may best suit his or her needs may seek consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

Source:, "Wills and living trusts, estimated tax payments", Oct. 16, 2017

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