Schedule a Consultation

Estate Planning Attorneys at O'Flaherty Law

Not All Estate Planning Attorneys Are The Same

Planning your estate is one of the most important legal steps you will ever take. The proper care and distribution of your property is an issue that you should not have to worry about. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can relieve many worries and concerns about the future of your family and what will happen financially when you are no longer here. If you choose to do nothing and leave things to chance, it could have a disastrous effect on the people you leave behind. Having the right estate planning attorney in your corner is vital to making sure your plan is properly created and can withstand any challenges that may be made against it. If you have a family, close friends or even a personal cause or charity that you would like to leave money or property then having an estate plan in place is essential. At O’Flaherty Law our estate planning lawyers have years of experience that can assist you with reaching your goals.

O'Flaherty Law Estate Planning Attorneys - What We Can Offer

Remote Consultation

Covid-19 shouldn’t put your legal needs on hold. You can receive a consultation and most legal services without leaving your home. Our attorneys are happy to speak to you by phone, video conference, or e-mail.

Estate Tax

We have several relatively inexpensive tools that we can use to legally help you avoid much or all of the estate tax that would otherwise be imposed on your estate.

Elder Law & Medicare Planning

Planning for Medicare and understanding elder law is something your experienced attorney will explain for your benefit and the benefit of your family members.

Special Needs

Special needs estate planning ensures your loved ones receive the care and support they need. It's important to select a highly experienced attorney with a support team in special needs who can help you avoid costly legal mistakes.

Mental Health

Preparing the proper estate plan that incorporates mental health elements requires a legal team that understands your present and future legal matters; ensure your loved ones legal and financial protection.

Expertise Best Child Support Lawyers in Chicago 201710 Best 2016 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law AttorneysAvvo Clients' Choice 2016 DivorceRising Stars Kevin P. O'Flaherty SuperLawyers.com10 Best Law Firms 2018 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Legal Counsel Attorneys Estate Planning Law

Our Estate Planning Lawyers are Here to Guide You Through  the Estate Planning Process!

When you decide to hire O'Flaherty Law for any of your legal needs, you can rest assured that an entire team will be working diligently to help you achieve your goals. You can expect open-door communication from your legal team and regular status updates on where your matter stands. Furthermore, your O’Flaherty Law attorney will be available to address any questions or concerns you have throughout the process. While your O’Flaherty law attorney will be available to you throughout, you can also rest assured that once you are our client, you can come back to us any time after we have closed your matter to ask questions or have something else handled. O’Flaherty Law will not only create your estate plan and help you implement it but can also assist you in updating or changing it over time, as necessary.

Estate planning attorney

Attorney Consultation

The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good first for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. We take your legal matters very seriously, which is why with each consultation, we strive to ensure you feel confident about the future of your case.

  • Attorneys experienced in many areas of law
  • Sympathetic yet effective counsel
  • Putting the best interests of you and your family first!
Schedule a Consultation

What to Expect  from  Your Estate Planning Attorney

You will have an initial consultation with your O’Flaherty Law Estate Planning Attorney, where you will discuss your needs and goals. Your O’Flaherty Law Estate Planning Attorney will ask you questions to zero in on what legal services you will require and your best options.

After fees are discussed, and a written agreement is complete between you and OFL, your matter will move into the information gathering stage. To properly plan your estate, you will need to provide copies of all relevant paperwork addressing any finances and real estate that you want your plan to handle. It is important to be as thorough as possible when providing information to your estate planning attorney to develop the most comprehensive plan that will be unlikely to be challenged.

Once all relevant information is gathered, you should be prepared to name your beneficiaries if you haven’t already. Then your estate attorney will work with you on a plan to achieve your goals. Be prepared to discuss maintenance of trust accounts if any are created. You can also discuss possible future changes with your estate planning attorney.

Do You Need An Estate Plan?

Estate planning chart

If you have anything more than roughly 50k in assets, you need an estate plan. You should also have a plan if you are married or intend to have children. One important factor to consider is that a good estate plan does not only deal with the transfer of assets when you pass away, but also your financial and healthcare wishes should you become incapacitated and need someone to step in and make decisions on your behalf. The value of your physical estate is not the only consideration; you should also plan for illness or injury.

What Should Be In Your Estate Plan?

Estate planning attorney and clients

It depends on the complexity of your financial portfolio. If you have a large amount of real estate and many investments, your estate plan can consist of many layers and different types of legal instruments. Generally speaking, a good estate plan can be divided into five areas: Wills, trusts, healthcare directives, financial POAs, and the selection of beneficiaries.

Wills: A Will is a mostly “static” legal instrument. You create your Will and then, barring any significant life changes, you leave it alone. Wills do not take any maintenance other than being updated. You would need to update your Will if you have children or get married or divorced.

Trusts: Trusts: There are various types of trusts, and they take careful planning and maintenance. Trusts should be carefully monitored and managed for the best financial results and avoid problems among the beneficiaries once they have passed away.

POA: A healthcare POA is someone who will make healthcare decisions for you if you become unable to. A financial POA is someone who will take charge of your finances if you are rendered unable to make those decisions.  

Healthcare Directives: Healthcare directives and the combination of a healthcare POA and a living will. It will instruct your family and friends on what medical care you wish to receive if you are unconscious or unable to convey your wishes.  

Designating Beneficiaries: The designation of beneficiaries is one of the most challenging parts of preparing an estate plan. You must carefully consider who should get what and how they should get it, taking into account each proposed beneficiary's mindset and responsibility level.  

When Child Support Needs to be Modified Due to a Change in Circumstances

When the party who pays child support experiences a change in circumstances child support will need to be recalculated and a modification ordered. The reasons for modification are typically that the party paying the support has received an increase in income either from their employment or sometimes after receiving an inheritance. On the other side of the coin, if the party paying child support is fired or experiences a decrease in income, they will also need to request a child support modification from the court or be in danger of accumulating child support arrears, which can be very difficult to recover from financially and comes with many potential penalties. Child support payments must be made in the same amount until the modification order is entered.

What Information Will Your Attorney Need To Create Your Estate Plan?

Estate planing lawyer meeting

Your attorney will be counting on you to provide all the relevant information needed to create a solid estate plan that meets your needs. Plan to provide your attorney with information on everything you want to pass on, including real estate, finances, and personal property. It is vital that your estate planning attorney complete an inventory of everything you would like to pass on to your heirs and beneficiaries. If you leave out an asset, you run the risk of compromising the legal validity of your estate through a challenge or someone getting more than you want them to.

How Long Does Estate Planning Take?

How long does estate planning take

It depends on the complexity of your estate and how many instruments will need to be planned and drafted. Many people find that making a final decision on who to name as a beneficiary and the method of how they receive funds is a time-consuming process. It would help if you also considered that you might change your mind about certain distributions, and documents will have to be modified accordingly. You should also keep in mind that if you have a trust or trusts created, they will take regular maintenance, which is an ongoing process.

How Much Does An Estate Plan Cost?

Calculating cost of estate plan with attorney

Cost is variable for each set of circumstances. Sometimes flat fee work is an option, but the more complex documents that require extensive research, information gathering, communication, and drafting are more costly. You should plan to be billed hourly, and your estate planning lawyer should communicate with you about costs. Additionally, prepare an estate plan early to lessen the likelihood of mental state/competency challenges. They will also need to be updated if there are any major life changes or you decide you want to adjust your plan. Most estate plans do go through some changes before a creator passes away, so this is to be.

Updating Your Estate Plan

You should update your estate plan upon any major life change or significant financial change, either positive or negative. Some examples would include: getting married or after a divorce, having children and grandchildren, or inheriting money or property that you will need to add to your estate plan. You should expect to regularly check in on your estate plan and make changes as appropriate.

Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning

We want you to feel completely secure with your estate plan and will be available to you throughout creating and updating your plan. While we will be available to you to answer all of your questions and concerns while the plan is being formed and executed, we have found that the below are the most frequently asked questions when a client comes to us for their estate planning needs.

Why is Estate Planning Important?

Estate planning is something for your peace of mind and the future care of your family and close friends. You deserve to have your final wishes carried out the way you want them carried out. It also lessens the burden on surviving friends and family members when you make your wishes crystal clear.

Who Needs Estate Planning?

Anyone who has assets they want to pass to family members and friends needs an estate plan. A plan is developed for the easiest and most economical transfer. An estate valued over 50k is considered a larger estate and needs to be evaluated. Of course, if your estate is less than 50k in value, you can still create an estate plan. It would be best to consult with one of our estate planning attorneys to see if creating a plan is in your best interests.

How Do I Choose an Estate Planning Attorney?

Look for an experienced estate planning attorney who can develop a global plan for all of your estate needs. A good attorney will also communicate clearly about the process and anticipated fees, costs, and timeline.

What is a Conservatorship?

A Conservatorship refers to the responsibility of another individual’s estate. Unlike a guardian, a conservator only controls the finances and possessions of an incapacitated or disabled individual. Conservators are not responsible for the health and wellness of the individual themselves, but paying bills, selling and buying stocks, and managing rental properties. The individual receiving care or financial assistance is often referred to as a “ward.”.

Can I Protect My Money From a Nursing Home?

There are options available to you to protect your assets from Medicaid. One common example would be forming and funding a Medicaid trust. A well-thought-out plan created by an experienced estate planning attorney can go a long way in protecting your assets from Medicaid.

Is it Better to Have a Will or a Trust?

It depends on what you have and what you want to happen to it after you die. Sometimes you need both a Will and a few different types of trust. Ultimately it all depends on what you have and what you want to do with it. A personalized estate plan will create suitable legal instruments to protect and distribute your assets.

What is the Difference Between a Will and a Trust?

A Will is a static document that needs to go through probate. A trust is a dynamic legal instrument that requires regular maintenance, and the assets transfer automatically upon some event defined in terms of the trust. No probate court is needed.

Do I Need to Plan for Medicaid in My Estate Plan?

It would be wise to discuss that question with your estate planning attorney once a comprehensive evaluation of your assets have been completed. When planning a Medicaid trust, the important factor is time. You need to form the trust a certain number of years prior to requiring Medicaid for it to be valid. It would be best to ask your estate planning attorney about this as soon as possible.

What is the Difference Between Inheritance Tax and Estate Tax?

Inheritance tax is what a person or entity must pay when they receive something from an estate, for example, a sizeable financial inheritance. The estate tax is a sum of money taken out of someone’s estate upon death.

What Assets are Subject to Estate Tax?

Generally speaking, any assets in your estate are subject to an estate tax. There are some ways around the estate tax if the property is held in a trust or perhaps a payable on death account at a bank, although a POD account is still subject to inheritance tax.

Can a Mentally Ill Person Be a Beneficiary?

Yes, a mentally ill person can be named as a beneficiary. There are certain types of trusts you can set up specifically for the care of a mentally ill person after you pass. The trust is formed to put aside money for mentally ill people while still allowing them to receive the maximum allowable allotment of state and federal aid.

Schedule a Consultation