Simply writing a will won’t mean your wishes will be honored in probate court when you die. The complexities of probate laws in most states can mean confusion over the intent of your will after you pass away. Estate attorneys can explain the many probate laws in your state and help you structure your estate in a way that will guarantee your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Estate attorneys can also minimize the chance that disputes will be filed by probate attorneys on behalf of individuals contesting your will.
Not Every Will Is Straightforward
Greed and jealousy can rear their ugly heads among normally loving relatives if there is a lot at stake. In many cases, relatives will hire probate attorneys to contest a will that has left them out of the picture. A standard will can be difficult to interpret or uphold in court if those contesting it have hired experienced Chicago probate attorneys. The more scrutiny your will is under, the less likely it will stand up in probate court if you haven’t attended to the details by working with estate attorneys when drafting it.
Estate Lawyers In Chicago Can Craft A Customized Will
Estate lawyers can help write a will that addresses any unusual wishes you might have. For example: If you die unexpectedly and don’t want your children to have full access to your assets while they are still minors. Consulting with Chicago probate attorneys or estate attorneys can help you structure your estate and establish a trust fund or restricted account, protecting the bulk of the estate until your children are old enough to handle it responsibly.
Estate attorneys can also help you address issues such as who will raise your children and what to do with your home when you pass away. There are dozens of other issues to contend with as well, estate lawyers in Chicago or you local area can advise you on how to address these concerns properly.
Death And Taxes: Coping With A Sure Thing
Unfortunately both death and taxes are unavoidable, that is why consulting with estate attorneys sooner rather than later is essential. Inheritance taxes are complex and can vary widely from state to state. Estate Planning attorneys are often also CPA’s and are well versed in tax law issues surrounding wills and estates. They can offer suggestions and can recommend an appropriate tax attorney. Experienced estate lawyers and probate attorneys can help you understand the tax ramifications of your death so that you can prepare now, and have your family protected later.
Using A Standard Will Template Can Lead to Problems
Do not be lulled into assuming that writing a will using a standard template will protect your heirs. Your seemingly simple instructions can quickly mushroom into a family feud or a battle of the probate attorneys. Printing a form off of the Internet does not guarantee your wishes will be followed, the form may not even be legal, may not cover all areas of your estate and even if it does, without an attorney, you cannot ensure you have signed the document properly for it to be recognized by the court.
By planning now and working with estate attorneys can minimize family strife and greatly reduce the chance that your heirs will need probate attorneys to fight for their rights. Protect your heirs properly by meeting with estate attorneys now rather than waiting until it’s too late.
Most people can become intimidated the first time they consider consulting with an attorney, especially when the person across the court room is your family. You may not know the criteria to look for to ensure you are hiring an experienced elder law attorney. Always spend time doing your homework, ask for referrals from the Chicago or Illinois Bar Association, check out their website, and ask for a free consultation to ensure you’re a good fit. If things turn ugly in a probate, will, trust, guardianship or estate matter, an experienced will and trust litigation lawyer is a must. Some lawyers have more experience than others in the courtroom, and this experience will be a big asset in your case when they argue for your rights.
The guidance you can get from guardianship lawyers, elder law and probate attorneys can ease the overwhelming tension of a family dispute. Please consider these factors when deciding to retain counsel.
Show me the Money
If there’s the potential for significant amounts of money to change hands, it’s likely that one or both parties will resist settling things out of court. Someone will take the problem before a judge, hoping to maximize their inheritance or monetary compensation and what they feel they deserve – rather than what the drafter of the will or trust intended. In order to ensure your interests are represented and properly communicated according to Illinois law, hire an estate litigation lawyer.
Reading Between the Lines
Has someone disputed a will in which you are entitled to a portion of the estate? Is a power of attorney for health care or property being misused in order to benefit the agent rather than the elderly person? Whatever the case, seek out an elder law lawyer with litigation experience to clarify, defend or refute the interpretation of the documents in question.
Protect YOUR Interests
The minute you learn any other party has retained an estate litigator, or filed anything in Court, you should start looking for a will and trust litigation lawyer yourself. Don’t wait to try and defend yourself. Although you think you may be saving money on legal fees, waiting until the case becomes messy to ask for help may result in the attorney being unable to help you or legal fees mounting more rapidly as drastic measures must be taken. The earlier you hire your own elder law attorney, the more time they will have to properly prepare to defend your case.
Confidence in the Courtroom
Sometimes you just know in your gut that the dispute you’re involved in won’t be resolved easily. In most legal situations, you’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed standing in front of a judge or working your way through the legal jargon; that’s natural. After all, you didn’t attend years of law school and you don’t have the experience of a practiced will and trust litigation lawyer. Always ensure that the elder law attorney you are hiring has litigation experience in the probate and guardianship courts. Ask if they know the judge that has been assigned to your case, the opposing counsel or if they have argued in both the state and federal courts.
Remember, the only reliable legal advice you can get isn’t through the grapevine or the Internet, but by consulting an attorney yourself.
The majority of Americans understand that a will is the best way to ensure their assets are handled appropriately after their death. Many individuals, however, either avoid this crucial step or put it off until it’s too late. The time to hire a will attorney is now.
If you’re in the process of creating your estate plan or are still researching your options, the tips below can point you in the right direction and help you avoid the common mistakes that can result in a will or trust litigation lawyer dragging your estate through the court system.
1. The Time To Consult A Will Attorney Is Now, If Not Yesterday
Regardless of how seemingly insignificant your current assets are, you should prepare in advance to protect your legacy and your family’s best interests. You need to decide how you want your assets divided and who will inherit what from you. In order to make it easier for the executor of your estate to retrieve and distribute your assets, make sure you have a complete inventory of your assets. If you have a will attorney, make sure they have a copy of your assets as well.
If you’re young and have significant assets, handling your estate properly becomes even more complex. Parents, children, and siblings may all expect something, and if you don’t have a will, you can expect at least one litigation attorney, if not more, will become involved. An estate planning lawyer can ensure your will is drafted properly and executed correctly so there are no if, ands or buts. State laws can also cause problems, so be sure you work with an Illinois will attorney who is familiar with every aspect of wills and estates in your area.
If you have a substantial estate with assets in many different forms, it’s essential that you talk to a will attorney who can understand the complexities of your assets. You may also want to discuss your assets with a financial planner, who can work along side your attorney at your request. Be sure to have deeds and other paperwork needed to transfer properties when you consult your attorney. Having your paperwork organized and prepared will allow the estate planning process to go smoother and allow the lawyer to draw up a truly comprehensive will that won’t run into problems.
2.Drafting Your Estate Plan Without Consulting A Will Attorney Can Be Unfortunate
Instant access to all kinds of information on the Internet can lull you into a false sense of security. While there are websites that allow you to prepare a simple will, you won’t get the personalized service and comprehensive knowledge of the law that you receive from a will attorney. Keep in mind that every situation is different, and a “one size fits all” approach to your will can mean crucial portions of your estate won’t be covered by the standard wording of an Internet form.
A will attorney can go over your assets with you in detail and suggest a variety of options that will maximize the value of your estate and minimize problems during probate. The document drawn up by your attorney will clearly outline your wishes and take any unusual circumstances into account. If you opt for a “fill in the blank” will, you dramatically increase the odds that someone in your family will hire a litigation attorney, resulting in a long, distressing legal battle.
3. Back Up Your Information
If you’ve prepared your will and have it stashed in a safety deposit box somewhere, you’ve made a common mistake. If, when you pass away, no one else has access to or knows about your safety deposit box, your estate can become a legal nightmare. Even having only one copy of your will in an easy to access location isn’t enough to fully protect you. Damage or loss can reduce your will to nothing. Your will attorney should retain one copy, you should hold one yourself, and a trusted family member or friend should have a third copy.
Preparing your last will and testament on your own is always risky. Contact a will attorney. He or she can guide you through the complex laws surrounding your assets and craft a document that ensures your heirs will honor your wishes and benefit from your estate as you intended.
Disclaimer: While the following tips can help guide you as you prepare a will, it is not a substitute for legal representation or legal advice. Please consult with an attorney who can advise you regarding your specific situation.