Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts in Illinois

"Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today," the old saying goes. While you may think you have all the time in the world to develop plans for you and your family, as you get older, the fact is that making the tough choices today will be easier on everyone than having to make them in the future. Our attorneys can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that gives legal weight to your wishes and instructions, ensuring they are carried out properly.

At Lois Kulinsky & Associates, Ltd., we represent clients like you who are ready to start planning for the future. For a free, 30-minute consultation to discuss your case, call us at 847-459-4448 or contact us online. For your convenience, we have two convenient offices and flexible scheduling.

1. What is a living will?

A living will allows a person to make a decision during his or her lifetime not to be kept alive on death-delaying devices, in the event his or her condition is considered terminal. A living will is a personal decision made by an individual. Once the living will is signed and properly witnessed, copies of the document should be distributed to the person's family physician and any other attending or treating physicians. By law, a physician or hospital is to keep this document with your medical records.

2. What is a living trust?

A living trust is an alternative to probate. This document places all of the assets that you own during your lifetime into a revocable trust. A living trust can be changed, amended or terminated in whole or in part by the individual at any time, provided he or she is of sound mind. Under a living trust, you can be named as your own trustee for your own property. Upon your disability during your lifetime, you can name a successor trustee to manage your assets and pay your debts. Upon your death, you can name a successor trustee to ensure that your assets are distributed as you so designate in your living trust.

3. Does everyone need a living trust?

No. There is no need to establish a living trust during your lifetime if you do not have many assets or the total value of your estate is less than $100,000. If the only asset you own is a piece of real estate, a land trust for real estate can be drafted at a lower cost to you than a living trust.

4. What is a health care power of attorney?

A health care power of attorney is drafted and signed by you during your lifetime. You give power to an individual named in your health care power of attorney to act on your behalf if you do not wish to be kept alive on life-sustaining devices such as a food tube or intravenous.

5. What is a durable power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney is signed by you during your lifetime and gives power to an individual whom you name to act on your behalf for financial purposes. It is effective only upon your being declared by a doctor to be incapable of managing your finances. It is important to have a durable power of attorney, especially if you are single, widowed or divorced, so that someone can write checks on your checking account, take money out of your 401(k) or savings account, or otherwise sell your assets to pay your bills and to obtain and pay for your medical care and the needs of your family.

Contact Us Today for a Free, Half-Hour Initial Consultation

Contact us online or call 847-459-4448 to speak with our estate planning attorneys. For your convenience, our main office is in Wheeling, and we also have an office in Libertyville and Buffalo Grove, serving both Lake and Cook counties. Free, half-hour initial consultations are available for new clients.