Putting your estate in order

A document about Estate planning

Estate planning for business owners.

For business owners, an effective estate plan addresses a number of concerns over and above the desire to care for surviving family members. Control over who will run the business, conservation of the owner’s assets in the face of legal expenses and taxes, and the liquidity to pay estate taxes due shortly after death are just some of the most pressing issues.

For the sake of their heirs, business owners should plan for the orderly transfer of their wealth including their business interests well in advance.

Prepare for Estate Taxes:

Depending on the value of business and personal assets at the time of death, the law may require that estate taxes be paid on the value of the business. If there is not enough cash on hand, heirs may have no choice but to sell the business prematurely or for less than the real value.

Some business owners use an irrevocable life insurance trust to purchase policies on their life, collect any death benefits, and distribute the money according to prearranged terms. The proceeds can be used to pay any estate taxes due, so heirs are not forced to sell a business, property, or other assets they would prefer to keep in the family. The use of these approaches can involve a complex web of tax rules and regulations. You should consider the counsel of an experienced estate planning professional before implementing such strategies.

Plan for Successful Succession:

A buy-sell agreement may be forged between the owners or shareholders of a business, outlining the terms for a buyout in the event of death or disability. It usually includes a pre-negotiated sale price, but can also explicitly request individuals to sell their interests to others or indicate who should manage the business operations.

Payments from a life insurance trust may also be used to buy assets from an estate, such as transferring ownership of a family business according to a pre-existing buy-sell agreement.

Your business is not just your livelihood. It’s likely to be the largest portion of your estate and thus the core of the legacy and security you intend to leave behind for your family. A solid estate plan can help keep your business intact through the most difficult transition of all.

Illinois Real Estate License Act (RELA) signed into law

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinios Real Estate License Act (RELA) into law, a move that strengthens rules for training and professionalism and enhances consumer protections.  

Public Act 101-0357 was signed on August 9, 2019. It is a rewrite of the Illinois Real Estate License Act, which by statute must be revised every decade to reflect industry changes. 

New Illinois law prohibits landlords from evicting tenants…

Illinois has become the second state to prohibit landlords from evicting tenants solely because they’re living in the U.S. illegally.

The measure Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law also prohibits landlords from reporting or threatening to report tenants’ immigration status to authorities in order to intimidate them, or as retaliation for exercising their rights as tenants, or to force them to move out.

Read more in the article posted in the Chicago Tribune.


The Benefits of Having a Living Trust in Cook County, IL.

In the past people used wills to protect their loved ones after their death and to distribute their property to specific people that they may have had a sentimental (or practical) reason that they wanted as a matter of public record.  Wills are far more famous to the general public due to movies and books, while trusts have been used by those who have a certain familiarity with attorneys and the legal system.  Now that we live in an information society it is easy to bring information to the public that they can use to their benefit.  Living trusts are something that is recommend over a standard will.  The federal and state laws that regulate estates and property transfer are extremely complicated, especially where it comes to wills.  As such the probate process to adjudicate the will and administer the property is lengthy and oftentimes produces deleterious effects on the family who just lost their loved one.  Moreover, it is an expensive process and reduces the value of the estate.

Wills, living wills, living trusts, and other end of life documents are difficult to introduce to healthy people because it requires that they think about their own death or the death of people they love.  In order to broach the topic, you have to remind people that as they age they will become less well and may very well end up needing care and special facilities.  However, it is a fact of life that we do age and eventually die.  It is better to prepare while you are younger so you don’t have to think about these things later.  However, it also goes without saying that accidents unfortunately happen to young people.

Having a living trust and a living will reduces the risk for your family.  Living trusts are the most common method of avoiding probate.  They are sometimes called “revocable living trusts” or “revocable trusts”, in case your tax preparer mentioned them last month.  These documents are a legal method of avoiding probate altogether and providing for your family members in the event, not only of your death, but also any extended illness.

It’s alway important to seek the advise of an Estate Planning Attorney to work with you to craft the appropriate Living Trust for your needs.

Basic Estate Planning

It doesn’t matter your net worth is or isn’t… What’s important is to have a basic estate plan in place, which ensures that your family and financial goals are met after you die.

A proper estate plan has contains several elements, which include: a will; a power of attorney for property; and a living will and a health care power of attorney. For some people, a trust may also make sense. When putting together a plan, you must be mindful of both federal and state laws governing estates.

The following are few things you need to get your affairs in order.

  1. Assets Inventory: Your investments, retirement savings, insurance policies, and any real estate or business interests. Ask yourself three questions: Whom do you want to inherit your assets? Whom do you want handling your financial affairs if you’re ever incapacitated? Whom do you want making medical decisions for you if you become unable to make them for yourself?
  2. A Will: A will states exactly where you want your assets distributed when you die. It’s also the best place to name guardians for your children if you have any. Dying without a will can be costly to your heirs and leaves you no say over who gets your assets as the whole matter will end up on Probate Court. Even if you have a trust, you still need a will to take care of any holdings outside of that trust when you die.
  3. A Living Will: Also known as an advance medical directive, is a statement of your wishes for the kind of life-sustaining medical intervention you want, or don’t want, in the event that you become terminally ill and unable to communicate.
  4. A Trust: Trusts are legal mechanisms that let you put conditions on how and when your assets will be distributed upon your death. They also allow you to reduce your estate and gift taxes and to distribute assets to your heirs without the cost, delay and publicity of probate court, which administers wills. Some also offer greater protection of your assets from creditors and lawsuits.

In all cases, it is highly recommended that your seek the advise of an attorney who is well versed in Estate Planning Law. They will guide you though the process of creating a personalized Estate Plan that will properly take care of matters as you wished after your death.