Estate Planning

MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

A Revocable Living Trust is just a fancy term for an agreement you enter into with a designated Trustee during your lifetime, to make sure your assets are managed according to your wishes in the event of sickness or your passing.  It also lets you skip the probate process.  With a trust, your family is responsible for making sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.  This takes away a lot of red tape, which can be nice for the family.

A designated Trustee is just someone you trust enough to act as your agent and carry out the terms of the trust.  This can be a close friend, a family member or an institution.  It’s customary to name yourself as the Trustee during your life, so you maintain complete control over all of your assets. 

Probate is just a fancy term for the bureaucratic process, managed by a judge, that states require when someone passes away.  While probate can be managed, it can become a burden to some families if they have to take time off of work to attend court dates, figure out the probate procedures, or wait the minimum of six months that it takes to complete a probate and receive their inheritance.  With some family structures, it can be beneficial to have the oversight of a judge. 

But how does a judge decide who gets what during a probate?  How does he or she know what the deceased actually wished?  A probate judge won’t answer these questions. Instead, the judge will apply the one-size fits all rules from the state’s statutes.  Most people don’t like this and, instead, hire an attorney for wills to write out the legal document. A will document tells the judge what he or she wishes to happen with their assets. 

A living will is an end of life document that deals with extreme situations, such as when one is in a coma.  Think of the Terry Schiavo case, where there was years of litigation over what should be done with a women in a vegetative state.  A living will definitively dictates what should be done, and removes all of that misery from the family.

A Pour Over Will is a type of will that is often included with a Revocable Living Trust Portfolio.  It’s very simple in nature, and exists to act as a sort of safety net, just in case an asset was never transferred into the name of the Trust.  For example, if I buy a car, pass away the next day, but was unable to move it into a Trust, the living will at least makes sure it’s being distributed according to my wishes, rather than according to state statute.

There are two powers of attorney (POA): one for health, and the other for property.  What these documents do is designate someone (an agent) to act on your behalf during your lifetime, in the event you fall ill and can’t make decisions on your own.  These documents are critical in maintaining financial liquidity (access to your funds) during your lifetime. 

A QLD is a companion document I always recommend to a Power of Attorney for Health.  A health POA gives an agent the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf, but provides no guidance as to what those decisions should be.  For example, the topic of whether, and how much pain medication, to give a loved one can be a difficult, emotionally ridden choice that family members disagree over.  A QLD is an act of love that answers those hard choices for your family.

What Our Clients Say

Trust and a Solid Reputation can only be earned with time, experience and performance.  Are you looking for the best retirement planner and estate planning firm in the Schaumburg Illinois area? America United Wealth Planning can help provide your family with guidance, than we hope you begin your search by reading some of our testimonials below, to see if our client’s experiences are what you are looking to find.  We can talk about how hard we work to provide the best service possible, but it has much more meaning when it comes from the folks whom we have planned for in the past.