Choosing an estate planning lawyer in Rockford, Il can be overwhelming and frustrating, especially if you’ve never hired an attorney. Often, people like yourself investigate online services which are little more than a “fill in the blanks” online form that one size fits all. If you’ve never gone through this process, you may be surprised to learn that the “do-it-yourself” estate planning software is often filled with inaccuracies and may not protect your estate from probate at all.

Most people don’t know that estate planning attorneys get A LOT of business from individuals and families that paid an automated online service to draft their living trust, only to discover that it was either unenforceable or was riddled with errors which forced probate.

The most effective way to plan your estate is to work with a verified estate planning lawyer in Rockford, and that’s where can help. We’ve hand selected attorneys serving the area based on experience, and practice focus specifically on estate planning, probate and related matters. We invite you to choose from our verified estate planning lawyers who serve Rockford, Il to help you with your will, living trust or probate matter.

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Estate Plan Essentials

Your estate plan will most likely include at least one of the following, and possibly multiple elements:

  • Wills – This is the legally binding document within your plan that outlines who will receive your assets. Your beneficiaries do not have to be your relatives – you can leave assets to a charitable organization or an institution, such as your alma mater;

  • Power of Attorney – You can grant family members power of attorney – the right to make medical, financial, and personal decisions on your behalf who can act in your best interest when you cannot make decisions for yourself;

  • Living Trusts – A living trust actually holds the legal title to a piece of your property (usually real estate), then it legally transfers it to a beneficiary after you pass;

  • Instructions – You need to instruct for the care of your minor children or disabled adult children.

Probate (Death Intestate) – Death Without a Will or Living Trust

If you don’t have a will or living trust in place when you pass away, your assets are subject to Illinois’ intestacy laws. Even if you have written a will but not a living trust, your assets will likely go to probate. These laws determine which parties are to inherit a deceased individual’s assets depending on which descendants he or she has. This can be contested in probate court, but it is an expensive and lengthy process.

After receiving assets, whether through a will or intestacy succession, beneficiaries can be subject to estate taxes if the deceased did not take careful measures to reduce or eliminate these taxes. In some cases, receiving assets can put a beneficiary deep into debt.

Probate is the process through which the court identifies and appraises a deceased individual’s assets, then pays the associated taxes and debts, followed by distributing the remaining assets to the deceased’s beneficiaries. Choosing an experienced Probate attorney in Rockford to help you draft or modify your plan can reduce or even eliminate the need for an estate to go through probate, which can be expensive for the deceased’s family and potentially create family arguments and problems.

Choosing an Estate Planning Lawyer

An experienced estate planning lawyer is well-versed in Illinois law, federal law, and the products and investment options available to you. Instead of facing this confusing, complicated process yourself, work with one of our verified attorneys who can act as your guide and advocate. Schedule your initial consultation with a Rockford estate planning law firm and be sure to prepare a list of questions and concerns before your appointment. A productive conversation about estate planning will lead to empowered, productive choices.