You work hard for your estate and it is important to develop a plan so that your property is passed on to the people that you care about. Estate planning is crucial to assuring your assets go where you want them to. Without a proper plan, your assets can be handed over to someone unintended and your loved ones can be tasked with the challenge of determining how to split your property.  

What Is An Estate?

A common misconception is that estate planning only benefits wealthy individuals who have a large inheritance. In fact, estate planning can benefit anyone who brings in income or owns any type of valuables that make up an estate. Your estate includes:

  • Money in bank accounts
  • Property or real estate
  • Stocks, funds, and securities
  • Life insurance policies
  • Automobiles
  • Other personal property such as jewelry, art, and house furnishings

The best estate plans are developed early and adjusted when necessary. This means that estate planning is not just for elderly people, but for anyone who has something to pass on. Despite the fact that everyone wants to live a long and happy life, tragedies occur and it is important that the grieving process for your loved ones is made easier with an estate plan.

If you fail to create an estate plan then the state determines how your assets should be distributed in the event of your death or severe impairment. This results in the mishandling of your estate and places unnecessary stress on your loved ones.

What Should An Estate Plan Include?

A person signs an estate planning document

A wise estate plan is not just made and left alone but is adjusted after major life events related to both your family and finances. A well-developed estate plan should encompass:

  • Naming a guardian for your children, and providing funds to raise them
  • Providing directions for distributing your valuables and property
  • A plan for your estate if you ever become disabled
  • A life insurance policy
  • An insurance policy to help offset your loss of income if you ever become disabled and cannot work
  • Plans for the transfer of your business into the care of another person if you ever become disabled or pass away

When developing an estate plan it is important to create a will or living trust, which are legal documents that mandate how your estate should be handled in the event of a tragedy. 

A will is a legal document that dictates how you want your estate to be distributed after your death, while a living trust can apply to any assets transferred to your trust both during your life and after your death.

By creating an estate plan you can assure that your loved ones are left with clear directions on how you wish your assets to be handled.

If you are unsure what course of action is best for your unique situation, it is advised to speak with an attorney early in the estate planning process. 

In Riverside, Illinois, Schottler Law has a reputation for helping people create a detailed plan for a delicate circumstance. Contact the firm today for a free 30-minute consultation.

By working with an experienced attorney to create an estate plan, you can have a sound mind knowing your property and loved ones will be taken care of.

Mark Schottler is a Chicagoland attorney with over 20 years of experience working both in probate and estate planning law and in real estate law. He puts his extensive knowledge on these subjects into easily consumable articles that will help and advise the public. Mark Schottler has a passion for probate and uses this to create relevant articles that are informative and entertaining. *While these posts may detail general legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.