Some Illinois residents hesitate to execute estate plans for various reasons, often including the fact that they feel overwhelmed when thinking of all the issues they will need to resolve. Others simply do not like to discuss their own mortality or think about the possibility that they could one day become incapacitated and unable to make financial or medical decisions for themselves. However, many people, especially those who want to help their loved ones avoid probate litigation, would rather be proactive in organizing their own assets than leaving all such decisions to a probate court.
One of the easiest ways to help heirs and beneficiaries avoid probate battles is to transfer assets outside of court ahead of time. There are numerous ways to do this, including setting up a revocable trust. A right of survivorship can also be attached to jointly owned property so that ownership of the property in question automatically transfers in full to the surviving owner after the co-owner dies.
An estate owner may also choose to designate a death beneficiary whereby certain assets become the property of the so-named person upon the estate owner’s death. Many people do this with retirement accounts and payable-upon-death accounts, which are relatively simple to set up. In addition to these ideas, a person can give his or her property or assets away as a gift.
Using gifts to avoid probate litigation is typically recommended for assets of lesser value. Such gifts are often taxable as well, so it pays to research the Illinois estate tax laws before implementing such plans. An experienced estate planning attorney can provide legal assistance in all estate matters. Any man or woman wishing to help loved ones avoid an expensive and lengthy probate process can request a consultation to discuss available options.