Estate Planning Explained E-Book

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​Estate Planning Explained - Wills & Trusts, Elder Law, Estate Tax, Probate And Special Needs Planning

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Illinois attorney Kevin O'Flaherty explains everything you need to know about estate planning so that you can learn how to save your family thousands in probate expenses, guardianship proceedings and estate tax. The purpose of this book is to make you an educated consumer so that you can identify what your estate planning goals should be and the appropriate tools you can use to accomplish them. We answer questions like:

  • What is estate planning?
  • What is the difference between a will and a revocable living trust?
  • Which documents are included in a typical estate plan?
  • What are the 8 Goals of a good estate planning?
  • How can you use an estate plan to appoint fiduciaries such as executors, trustees, and agents for financial and healthcare powers of attorney so that you have the right person managing your affairs if you should pass or become mentally incompetent?
  • How can you use trusts and wills to provide for the distribution of your assets?
  • What are some common and special considerations when providing for the distribution of your assets?
  • What is probate, why is it bad, and how can you use an estate plan to prevent it and save your family tens of thousands of dollars?
  • What happens if you become mentally incompetent through old age, illness or accident, and how can healthcare powers of attorneys be used to avoid a costly and time-consuming guardianship proceeding if that should happen?
  • What is estate tax, does it apply to you, and how can you use estate planning to minimize or avoid it?
  • If you have a loved one with special needs, how can you use supplemental needs trusts to allow your loved one to earn an income and accumulate wealth without jeopardizing his or her government benefits?
  • How can you use Family Limited Partnerships and Irrevocable Trusts to protect your family's assets from creditors?
  • How to use estate planning to keep your key assets in your family while still taking advantage of Medicaid benefits for long-term care. 
  • How to transfer your assets to your revocable living trust and save on legal fees
  • Should your trust be the beneficiary of your life insurance policy?
  • What is the Medicaid 5 year look back period, what types of transfers are allowable 5 years prior to receiving Medicaid assistance for long-term care, and how can you protect the assets of a healthy spouse when applying for Medicaid?
  • When is probate necessary, and what happens in the probate process?
  • What is the difference between supervised administration and independent administration in probate?
  • What happens when minors inherit property?
  • How to avoid liability when administering a trust?
  • What is the adult guardianship process?
  • How can you use pet trusts to provide for your pets when you pass away?

A note from Kevin O'Flaherty:Before I began practicing law in 2007, my understanding of estate planning was basically that you should have a will to provide for the distribution of your assets to loved ones when you pass. While this is true, there is much more to estate planning than simply putting a will in place. Having a good estate plan is every bit as important as having a financial plan or a family budget. A good estate plan can save your family thousands of dollars in probate expenses, attorney fees for guardianship proceedings if you become mentally incompetent, and estate tax. Most people have the same understanding of estate planning as I did before I started practicing. Unless you have spoken with an attorney or a financial advisor, there is typically very little occasion to educate yourself on the topic. The purpose of this book is to allow you to be an informed consumer so that when you meet with an estate planning attorney, you can be your own advocate and will have a fundamental understanding of the goals you are trying to accomplish for your loved ones and the tools that you can use to achieve those goals. Estate planning is not only for the wealthy.

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