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Planning your estate with a keen focus on finances

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | ESTATE PLANNING - Estate Administration & Probate, ESTATE PLANNING - Estate Planning

Estate planning in Illinois is crucial to managing finances and ensuring that assets are distributed according to your wishes after you pass away. In planning your financial future, it’s helpful to understand the different tools and strategies available to help you create a plan that meets your unique needs and goals.

Identifying assets

The first step in estate planning is identifying your assets and determining their value. This includes everything from your home and other real estate, to bank accounts, investments and personal property. It’s also necessary to consider any debts or liabilities you may have as these will need to be paid off before any assets can be distributed.

Distribution of wealth

Once you clearly understand your assets and liabilities, you can begin to think about how you want to distribute them after you pass away. Commonly, people do this is through a will. A will allows you to name specific beneficiaries, such as family members or charitable organizations, and specify how much they should receive.

Minimizing taxes

In addition to these tools, there are also estate planning strategies for minimizing the impact of taxes on your estate. One way to do this is through gifting, which allows you to transfer assets to your beneficiaries while you’re still alive. This can help reduce the size of your estate and lower the taxes that will be owed upon your death.

Utilizing trusts

Another way to minimize taxes is through the use of trusts. Trusts can be a complex and powerful tool, but they can also protect assets from creditors and minimize taxes. Trusts can also be used to provide for specific needs, such as providing for a child with special needs or ensuring that a beneficiary receives a steady income stream.

Power of attorney

It’s also prudent to have a plan to manage your assets in case you become incapacitated. This may include a power of attorney, which allows you to name someone to manage your assets on your behalf, or a healthcare proxy, which will enable you to designate someone to make medical decisions on your behalf.

It’s also prudent to regularly review and update your estate plan as your life changes, such as marriage, divorce, the birth of children and changes in your financial situation. This ensures that your strategy will be effective when it is needed the most.