Common Estate Planning Questions
This guide answers common estate planning questions to help you get ready to plan for your future.
What is Estate Planning?Estate Planning allows you to appoint who will act as your agent with regard to your property and health care should you become incapacitated prior to your death; it allows you to determine how your health care and treatment will be handled in making end of life medical decisions; and is your way of ensuring the simple and swift distribution of your real and personal property in accordance with your desires upon your death.
What Should I Consider When Planning an Estate?-Who are you? (identify yourself, your spouse, your children)
-What do you have? (your property, such as your home, bank accounts, jewelry, automobiles, )
-Whom do you want to give your property away to? (the person or persons who will receive your estate, including special gifts to certain individuals)
-Under what conditions? (through a trust perhaps)
-Whom do you want to take care of your minor children? (the name of the Guardian)
-Whom do you want to run things? (the Executor or Trustee)
-Whom do you want to make decisions for you if you cannot, and what care do you want or not want?
What do I Need to Know about Estate Taxes?-Estate taxes are taxes on the transfer of assets from the deceased to their beneficiaries.
-Limiting estate taxes should not be the primary goal of your estate planning process.
-Some options to minimize your estate tax are the marital deduction if you are married; "Portability" of the Applicable Exclusion if you have a deceased spouse; generation-skipping transfer tax if you have beneficiaries one or more generations below you; and making gifts to reduce the size of your estate.
-Assets that are passed as gifts are still taxable so you should consult with an estate planning attorney like us to discuss the option that best fits you.
-At the time of your death all of your assets can still be taxed, but if they are properly bequeathed to a surviving spouse on they can escape these taxes.
-Non-U.S. citizen spouses may not be able to inherit your estate.
-The Illinois State Estate Tax does not tax any estates with a value of less than $5.49 million (2017).
-Estate Taxes must be paid nine months after the time of death.
Why do I need an Attorney to help plan my Estate?In order to ensure that your property is cared for and bequeathed properly in accordance with your decisions, it is important to work with a qualified, experienced attorney that you can find here at our firm. We will discuss your assets, beneficiaries, and trustees to create a unique plan that fits with your family's needs. This way every option can be reviewed carefully and the planning process can be done in an effective, timely manner with no unnecessary costs or family upsets that could result from attempting to handle this process on your own.