Estate Planning and Probate

“Pull Yourself By Your Bootstraps is a Sham.  60% of  American Wealth is Inherited.”  – Robert Reich, Former Secretary of Commerce.

Don’t delay getting started on protecting your family and leaving a lasting legacy for your loved ones.  Schedule a consultation today!

Do You Need an Estate Plan? YES, YOU DO!

If you’ve found your way to this page, then you’ve probably been thinking about putting an estate plan in place but haven’t gotten around to it. We are passionate about providing thoughtful and compassionate services to families because we know personally and professionally that families experience a great amount of grief and confusion when a loved one becomes seriously ill or passes away without a plan.  Below are the Top 3 reasons people give for not having a plan and my response to each. Do any of these apply to you?

#1: I’m not rich so I don’t need a will.

My response: Regardless of your income, most families need an Estate or Family Protection Plan to eliminate or minimize the hassle and costs of probate or private court. A plan also ensures that you control who gets your stuff. A family protection plan also provides safeguards for any unexpected illness or disability.

#2: I don’t know where to start.

My response: We have great tools and resources to help you get organized and make some important decisions. We will also walk you through the process step by step.

#3: I can’t afford it.

Our services are provided on a flat fee basis that you will know upfront. We will work with you to structure a payment plan that fits into your budget. There won’t be any surprises or an unaffordable bill at the end.

Aren’t you ready to stop worrying and gain peace of mind by knowing you have put a plan in place for your family’s protection and financial well-being? Download our “10 Steps to Getting Started” to organize your thoughts and begin creating an estate plan that protects your family.

We know that losing someone close is extremely difficult. We created this here with you in mind. 

What is Probate

Probate is a court proceeding where the estate of a deceased loved one is settled in accordance with state law.  Probate laws govern how the property of the deceased is handled if they die with a will (Testate) or without a will (Intestate).

The loss of a loved one can be devastating. Not only are you mourning the death of your family member, but you are also faced with managing their affairs, which can include gathering their assets, paying debts, renting or selling their real estate, and distributing their property to family members. 

Property includes more than real estate. It also includes:

Real estate

Bank Accounts (checking, saving, money market accounts, CDs, etc.)

Insurance accounts

Retirement accounts (401k, pension funds)

Personal property like jewelry, furniture, cars, etc.

The level of difficulty in settling their affairs usually depends on how much property your loved one owned, whether the deceased had a will or living trust (Testate) or died without an estate plan (Intestate). 

In some instances, your loved one may have a Small Estate, which means the deceased didn’t own real estate and/or the property is valued at less than $100,000. Illinois law allows you to settle a Small Estate using the Small Estate Affidavit. If the estate includes real estate and/or property valued at more than $100,000, you will likely have to go through the Probate Court process to pay their outstanding debts and distribute the property to loved ones.

The SEA should not be used when:

  1. The deceased owned real estate
  2. There are unpaid creditors or funeral expenses;
  3. The will is not valid, or it is likely the family will dispute it.
  4. There are disagreements over who the heirs are.
  5. There are minors or disabled beneficiaries.
  6. All estate assets are not known.
  7. Click here to download the Small Estate Affidavit.

What Happens in Probate Court?

The probate laws of Illinois govern 3 ypes of proceedings and are very technical .

  1. Settling the affairs of the deceased.
  2. Guardianship of Minors.
  3. Guardianship of disabled or incapacitated adults.

When settling the affairs of a deceased person and as long as no disputes between family members arise, there are 4 Steps of the Probate Court Process.

  1. Identifying Property and Assets Belonging to your Loved One.
  2. Getting Control of the Property through the Court.
  3. Paying Bills and Necessary Expenses.
  4. Distributing Property to Beneficiaries.

Services we provide

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