Cook County Estate Planning Attorney

Chicago estate plan attorney

Lawyers for Trusts, Wills, and Advance Directives

Everyone needs an estate plan. Whether you are young healthy and just starting a family or a senior citizen, no one can predict what will happen even tomorrow. Having a strong estate plan in place is a great way to be prepared for life's uncertainties. Aside from providing for your closest loved ones, some parts of estate planning involve protecting your future self as well. Just as every client is unique, so is every estate plan our lawyers create for members of our community.

The attorneys of Whitacre & Stefanczuk LTD are committed to building strong and comprehensive estate plans that cover a wide range of possibilities. We believe that estate planning is essential for everyone, no matter their stage of life or personal situation. Our lawyers will address both your testamentary planning - deciding who gets what after you are gone - and incapacity planning - preparing for the possibility that you may become ill and unable to make decisions for yourself. With our help, you can feel secure knowing that you and your loved ones are protected.

Attorneys for Trusts and Wills in Cook County

Trusts and wills are the two main tools lawyers use for testamentary estate planning. Both documents can help you accomplish the goal of distributing property and money to your loved ones after you are gone, but they work in slightly different ways.

Wills have no effect until after the testator has died and the will is submitted to a probate court. Probate is the court-supervised process of settling an estate's debts and distributing property in accordance with instructions provided in the will. This process can take some time, and it may become costly.

Trusts take effect immediately when you create them, and they allow your beneficiaries to skip probate. This works by allowing you to establish a trust as its own entity and transfer ownership of assets to the trust. You can, of course, name yourself as the trustee of a revocable living trust so that you can retain complete control over any property in the trust during your lifetime. In other situations, you can use an irrevocable trust for asset protection.

When you are no longer there to manage your trust, the successor trustee of your choosing can take over and begin making distributions according to your instructions. You can use trusts to gradually distribute money and property over time instead of giving one lump sum in a will.

Business owners can also use their estate plans for succession planning purposes. Whether you have an ownership interest in a major corporation or run a small family business, these assets should be addressed in your estate plan.

As you create your estate plan, we will discuss all your different options with you so that you can make well-informed decisions.

Attorneys for Estate Plan Amendments

If you already have an established estate plan but have experienced a life change, we can help you bring your plans up to date. Whether you have gotten divorced, moved to a different state, become a parent, or started a business, your estate plans should reflect your new reality. If you have recently bought or sold real estate property, this change should also be reflected. We will help you make sure that your estate plan is up-to-date so that you are always ready for the unexpected.

Cook County Lawyer for Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives

While testamentary estate planning protects your loved ones, advance directives protect you. With the average lifespan steadily increasing, the odds are that you will one day reach a point where you can no longer make sound decisions for yourself. Fortunately, there are ways that you can prepare for that day, today.

Powers of attorney let you choose the individuals you would want to step in and start making personal or health care decisions for you, as well as managing your financial affairs. It is important to select people you trust to respect your wishes.

You can also use a living will to make certain health care decisions for yourself more directly. These documents largely pertain to the type of care you would want to receive if you become incapacitated and terminally ill. These are very personal decisions that only you should make on your own behalf.

Call a Cook County Estate Planning Lawyer

Whitacre & Stefanczuk LTD will help you create the comprehensive estate plan that you and your future beneficiaries need. We will carefully cover every aspect of estate planning that is important to you so that no detail will go overlooked. We serve clients throughout Cook County in Chicago, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Oak Park, and more. Contact us or call 773-622-6100 to begin with a free consultation.

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