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Estate planning for millennials

The millennial generation has turned many concepts that previous generations held onto upside down. While there are several positive things that may come from this, there are times when Illinois millennials could learn from their older counterparts. One of the things that many young people mistakenly associated with something needed only by their grandparents or maybe their parents is an estate plan.

As explained by the Chicago Tribune, anyone can benefit from an estate plan - even a healthy 25-year-old. Many people might think only of a will that outlines who will get what after a person dies when they think of an estate plan. That, however, is an antiquated view on the matter. One thing that millennials should consider is what will happen to their online identities when they die. A modern estate plan can identify who will have control over everything from their music streaming account to their social media profiles.

Traffic stop leads to the arrest of 2 local men

Very rarely do authorities in Oswego happen upon a crime as it is being committed. Rather, it may be in the course of a routine traffic stop or investigating an alleged disturbance that they find evidence supporting extensive criminal activity. This often prompts the question of what authority do police officers have to search a home or a vehicle when there has been no prior indication that any criminal actions were related to it. More specifically, people often wonder in what situations would an officer require a warrant to conduct a search. 

Take the recent case of two local men who were recently arrested in Indiana. Their car was pulled over after it was observed having difficulty staying in its lane and being driven well under the speed limit. Upon stopping, one of the men fled from the car. Authorities later caught up with him and brought him back, at which time the other man (who had been asleep when the car was originally pulled over) was awake and alert (and brandishing a weapon). A subsequent search of the car revealed more weapons and drug paraphernalia. A third passenger in the car was also detained, only to be released a short while later. 

Illinois mother pushes for stronger drunk driving laws

A woman from Illinois lost her son almost a year ago in a Wisconsin car crash. The driver of the vehicle he was riding in allegedly had a blood alcohol level of 0.117. The Illinois woman remains angry that, according to her account, the driver has yet to face any negative consequence, such as prison time or license suspension, in connection with the crash. Ever since then, she has reportedly devoted much of her time to lobbying for stricter drunk driving laws in Wisconsin.

Her efforts may soon pay off. Last week a Republican state representative introduced legislation to impose a maximum five-year prison sentence on a driver convicted of drunk driving homicide in Wisconsin. The bill now heads to the Rules Committee after the Assembly Committee passed it unanimously. 

What is non-probate property?

Writing a will in Illinois is a good way to ensure that those responsible for the administration of your property after your death know and understand your wishes. However, you cannot necessarily put everything you own into a will. Wills only pertain to probate property, which is a large category that includes many types of tangible and nontangible assets.

However, according to FindLaw, there is also non-probate property that does not go into a will. There are several different types of non-probate property, each with its own set of rules pertaining to its distribution that supersedes anything that you put in your will. What follows are a few of the most common types.

Tread carefully when buying your first home

Buying your first home is an exciting time, but you may be nervous. It is a major purchase, and making a mistake may mean years of struggle or discontent with your decision. If you are wise and taking your time, you are likely looking at a variety of properties and comparing the pros and cons of each. The price, the neighborhood, the amenities are all important considerations.

It is also critical to see past how things look on paper. A house that checks all the boxes on your wish list may be too good to be true, so you would be wise to take a closer look.

Remarriage and estate planning

If you are one of the many people in Illinois who are preparing to get married for the second or subsequent time, you likely know and appreciate how precious a marriage and family is. In addition to taking vows and sharing a daily life with someone, another way to show your love for a spouse and your other family members is to have plans in place to help them after you die. A solid estate plan can take a big load off of people already struggling to adjust to life without you.

When you get remarried, it is important to re-evaluate your estate planning wishes through a different lens. As Fidelity Investments explains, providing for your new spouse and your children from a prior marriage can be more complicated than providing for an intact, nuclear family from a first marriage. Regardless of how well a step-parent gets along with their stepchildren, these people can end up at odds over what should happen after the death of the spouse or parent.

How can I avoid probate problems as a business owner?

If you have a business partner in Illinois, one fear you may have is problems with probate. Probate describes the process by which the courts verify whether or not a will is legitimate. This sounds simple enough, so why does it bother business owners? The short answer is that probate decisions can affect business successions and lead to lengthy court battles.

According to Forbes, probate does not always result in difficulties for family members and business partners. This typically only happens when the deceased did not engage in proper planning for their final affairs. This could lead to problems sorting out assets, debts and final wishes.

Estate planning beyond the will

At Mockaitis Law, we know that many people in Illinois only think about wills when they hear the phrase "estate planning." It is true that a will is an important and essential part of an estate plan, but it does not apply to every possible contingency. Because a will does not go into effect until after you die, your estate plan should include other documents delineating what is to happen in the event that you become permanently incapacitated due to an accident or illness.

According to FindLaw, advance directives take effect in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself and express what you want to happen and what treatment you do and do not want to receive after becoming incapacitated. There are two basic types of advance directives: a health care power of attorney and a living will. A comprehensive estate plan should include both. 

Is your estate plan meeting your goals?

Creating an estate plan is not something you should do casually without serious thought to your goals. Jotting your last will and testament in a notebook is likely to create more confusion and frustration than you anticipate, and it won't provide much protection for you or your heirs.

Your first step to establishing an effective and thorough estate plan is to decide what goals you want that plan to help you meet. Understanding the many elements and instruments in a complete estate plan may help you clarify your objectives and determine the best options for reaching them.

Importance of choosing the right trustee for your estate

If you are making plans for your future in Illinois, you will need to assign a trustee to your estate. It is important to understand what the role of a trustee is so you can choose the right person for the job. Doing so will ensure he or she meets your wishes and there is no dispute after your passing.

According to the SF Gate, you assign a trustee to manage the assets in your estate and follow your direction in terms of who gets what. While it may sound like a fairly simple job, the trustee carries a lot of responsibility and, after you pass, he or she has a lot of work to do. A trustee must

  • Take inventory of all assets and make sure they are safe
  • Appoint appraisal for assets that do not have a defined value
  • Buy or sell assets to make sure trust gets good investment return
  • Distribute property to appropriate beneficiaries
  • Files all necessary tax returns 
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