When you have spent a lifetime working hard to acquire assets, you want to make sure that upon your death, or should you become incapacitated, your treasures go to the right people. This is one of the main purposes of estate planning.
Estate planning can be complex, and you must work within the laws of the state of Illinois. It may seem overwhelming, but by following the correct steps, estate planning is manageable.
Before you decide how to allocate your assets, you need to know exactly what you have. The first step in estate planning is to list everything of value you own. This includes all property, real estate, stocks, bonds, bank accounts and insurance policies. Be thorough.
Decide on family needs
Think about the people who rely on you and what they would need if you were no longer in the picture. Make sure to consider both long-term and short-term needs. For example, you may want to set aside funds for a child’s education or wedding.
Putting your directives in writing will make everything clear and avoid potential legal battles between family members. You can designate a power of attorney, appoint a health care proxy, form a trust or take many other steps. Spell out exactly how you wish things to go in any potential situation.
Review Illinois tax laws
Illinois has laws concerning the taxation of inherited assets. Review the laws and take them into consideration during estate planning. You will want to save your beneficiaries as much on taxes as you can.
Once you complete the estate planning process, you will want to review your plans periodically, particularly after major life changes. Regular updates will help to ensure that your plans continue to reflect your intentions for your assets.