Estate Planning Terms to Know

Thinking about possible incapacity or inevitable death is never pleasant. For this reason, many people put off creating an estate plan because they believe that the time is not right yet or simply because they are afraid of death.

Creating an estate plan is important because it can save your family a lot of heartache and uncertainty in the future. Estate planning is crucial to communicate your wishes to your loved ones and protect your property and assets.

Consider speaking with an estate planning attorney to guide you through the process of setting up an estate plan. At Christopher S. Nudo, Attorney at Law, we are prepared to explain the process and all of the terms it entails.  

We offer our clients unmatched advocacy, personalized attention, and knowledgeable legal advice to help them understand the ins and outs of the estate planning process. Christopher S. Nudo, Attorney at Law represents clients in Arlington Heights, Illinois, as well as the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Why Estate Planning Is Important

Estate planning refers to the management of how a person’s assets will be distributed to their beneficiaries when that person passes away. An estate plan may also include legal documents that designate individuals who would make critical decisions on behalf of the person who creates a plan in the event of their incapacity.

In other words, estate planning is important for everyone regardless of their age, health, marital status, financial situation, or number of assets. A well-drafted estate plan can accomplish the following:

  • Avoid Probate – unnecessary court costs and time.
  • Addresses minor children concerns with individual children’s trusts.
  • Private  (Keeps you and your information out of public court and away from meddling family and friends)
  • Quick Administration  
  • Inexpensive Administration costs (Average of $1,000 compared to the $18,000 for Probate.)
  • Helps with Disabilities if either or both of you lose cognitive ability.
  • Ensure that your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries as you wish
  • Minimize estate tax
  • Allow you to choose individuals who will make critical decisions related to your health or finances when you are no longer able to make decisions on your own

Consider speaking with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to review your particular situation and determine whether or not you can benefit from setting up an estate plan.

Important Terms to Know

If you are considering setting up an estate plan, there are specific terms you should be familiar with to help you ensure that you understand the meaning and purpose of each document in your plan.  

  • Probate is a legal process during which a court authenticates the deceased person’s last will and testament (if any), approves the executor named in the will, and oversees the distribution of the decedent’s assets.
  • Intestate means the deceased person died without having prepared a will prior to their death. The decedent’s assets will be distributed to the heirs according to their state’s intestacy laws when this happens.
  • A will, or a last will and testament, is a legal document that outlines a person’s final wishes related to the distribution of their assets upon death. The will also names the executor of the decedent’s estate and may include other provisions.
  • A trust is an arrangement that allows a trustee to hold the trustor’s assets, manage those assets, and distribute them to the beneficiaries. A trust is an effective tool that helps minimize estate taxes.
  • A beneficiary refers to someone who will inherit a decedent’s assets upon their death, regardless of whether the assets have a beneficiary designation or not. A beneficiary can be a person, organization, or even a trust.
  • An executor is someone whose primary function is to administer the deceased person’s estate and wrap up their financial affairs after the decedent’s death.
  • A power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to grant someone you trust with legal authority to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated.
  • An advance healthcare directive refers to a document that allows you to provide guidance regarding the medical care that you would or would not like to receive when you are no longer able to communicate your wishes.  

Hiring an Experienced Illinois Estate Planning Attorney

If you are considering creating an estate plan, reach out to our Illinois estate planning attorney at Christopher S. Nudo, Attorney at Law. We are prepared to guide you through the process of setting up an estate plan. Our goal is to assist clients with preparing an estate plan that gives them peace of mind, protects their assets, and properly communicates their wishes. 

Christopher S. Nudo, Attorney at Law represents clients in Arlington Heights, Elgin, and Bannockburn Illinois, as well as the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

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