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Estate planning issues re things that aren't included in wills

It is never too soon to execute plans to protect assets and provide financial support to loved ones for their future. The estate planning process is the most often used tool for doing so. It is a highly customizable process that may be quite simple or tremendously complex. It is important for Illinois estate owners to research laws pertaining to such matters before implementing a plan; for instance, estate owners will want to know what can and cannot be included in a will.

There are certain types of property, such as those that are listed as joint tenancies, that should not be included in a last will and testament. This is because such properties pass directly to the surviving tenant when a co-owner dies. Joint tenancy laws override any mention of such property (with regard to transferring ownership) in a person's will.

Property listed in a will does not avoid probate. However, property listed in a living trust is exempt from the probate process. Listing such property as an asset in a will that is already set up for ownership transfer in a living trust creates an inconsistency.

Concerning one's funeral wishes, it is always best to discuss such matters ahead of time with loved ones or others to whom such duties may be entrusted. If a person simply states his or her funeral wishes in a will, it may not even be seen until it's too late to do anything about it. An estate planning attorney can provide guidance and support to create a plan that helps loved ones avoid high estate taxes, probate litigation and other issues that can cause stress.

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Lesser Lutrey Pasquesi & Howe, LLP
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