847.292.1800
422 North Northwest Highway, B-5
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

Living Trusts and Wills

Estate planning is of critical importance to securing a future you want for you and your family. While a will is the most well known part of an estate plan, it is far from the only thing you can put in place. For example, a living trust can be an invaluable legal instrument to put in place during the estate planning process. Imagine an estate plan where your assets could pass outside of the lengthy and expensive probate process. A living trust can accomplish this!
 
At the Law Office of Thomas J. Hansen, all estate planning options will be considered in order to meet your specific needs and circumstances. Attorney Thomas Hansen will personally work with you to develop an estate plan that ensures you and your loved ones are provided for in the best ways possible.

Estate Planning Tools: The Benefits of a Living Trust vs. a Will

A living trust is created by the grantor and managed by the trustee for the benefit of the trust beneficiaries. Usually, the grantor, trustee, and beneficiary are all the same. Once the grantor passes away, a successor trustee takes over and distributes the trust assets to the beneficiaries, the heirs of the grantor. A successor trustee will also take over if the grantor trustee becomes mentally unable to manage his or her affairs.
 
One of the benefits of a living trust is that if you were to become mentally incapacitated, your assets would already be held and managed within the trust. Your successor trustee can step in to manage your financial affairs without other court proceedings being necessary. In fact, you can even specify in your trust documents the method which should be employed to determine whether you are mentally unable to manage the trust. You can state that the incapacitation should be determined by a specific physician, a certain type of physician, or a team of physicians.
 
Another major benefit of a living trust is that, when you pass away, the trust assets will fall outside of probate. The probate process can be time consuming and expensive. In order to avoid probate, however, the trust assets must be titled the correct way. When you move assets into the trust, the title to the asset must be changed from you as an individual to the trust.
 
Trusts are also private and not subject to public record or court review. Additionally, it is more difficult to contest a trust than it is to contest a will. A trust can effectively and efficiently act as a way to distribute your assets to your heirs upon your death. However, if you would like to name a guardian for your minor children in the event that you pass away or become incapacitated, you will need a will.
 
Additionally, it is important to consider the fact that, Illinois offers a simplified probate proceeding for estates less than $100,000. A more formal probate process is required if someone’s assets are $100,000 or more. If you would qualify for the simplified probate proceeding, probate may be less costly than a trust. 
 
Another trust that can be a valuable estate planning tool is the stand alone retirement account trust. The trust is established and is listed as the beneficiary of your retirement fund. This type of trust can have significant tax benefits for your heirs. As opposed to a lump sum distribution of your retirement account, the trust allows for payment in installments which will prevent the beneficiaries from getting quickly overtaxed.

An Estate Planning Attorney Dedicated to Meeting Your Unique Needs

Everyone has a different financial situation and family structure. Hire an experienced estate planning attorney that will work to understand your specific situation. This is an integral part of developing the best estate plan for you. The Law Office of Thomas J. Hansen provides client support you aren’t likely to find anywhere else. An estate plan is too important to put off any longer. Contact the Law Office of Thomas J. Hansen today.



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422 North Northwest Highway, B-5, Park Ridge, IL 60068
| Phone: 847-292-1800

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