This article is the second in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan. This article will explain how an estate plan can help you with the first goal of a good estate plan: Appointment of Fiduciaries and Distribution of Assets. For the sake of readability, I have broken this article into two parts. This “part A” will discuss distribution of assets. Next week’s “part B” will discuss appointment of fiduciaries.
A. Distribution of Assets
In Illinois, if an individual dies without a will or a trust, state statute determines what will be done with her assets. This is called dying intestate. When an individual dies intestate, the assets will be distributed in equal shares to the first of the following groups that contains a living member:
However, even in this situation, a will or a trust may be important to ensure that the correct person will be managing the distribution of these assets (discussed below); and a trust may be necessary to ensure that the assets are not reduced significantly by going through the probate process (discussed in next week’s article).
Wills and Trusts are important for distribution purposes, if the client:
Clients have the ability to be as creative as they would like in directing the distribution of their assets. Almost any scenario that a client can envision can be effectuated through either a trust or a will.
In next week’s article we will discuss the use of an estate plan to appoint proper fiduciaries to handle the distribution of your assets.
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