When Is the Right Time to Hire a Trust & Trust Attorney?
Hiring the best Wills & Trusts Attorney is important because they help you plan for the future, and ensure your estate is distributed according to your wishes. A well-thought-out estate plan allows you to avoid a lengthy, public probate process, and reduces taxes on your assets. A Chicago trust and estate lawyer will have a deep understanding of Illinois law, the various kinds of trusts available in your situation, and how to draw up a document that follows your wishes exactly.
Online estate planning services offer a convenient way to create legal documents without a lawyer. They usually consist of a questionnaire that asks you questions about your personal and financial situation, and then generates documents based on that information. Most of these services charge a flat fee for their documents, which is typically less than hiring a lawyer by the hour.
Some services also have downloadable software that guarantees your documents are only accessible through your computer, and offers features such as a high-contrast mode for those with vision loss. Depending on the complexity of your estate, these services may cost up to $500 or more for an entire package.
The most popular service is Quicken WillMaker & Trust, which has been around for more than 30 years. Its questionnaire-based approach is straightforward and easy to understand, and it has a user community that provides helpful feedback on its tools. Its downloadable software costs an extra $15, but it includes unlimited updates for a year and is compatible with Windows and Mac computers.
Another popular option is U.S. LegalWills, which offers a similar questionnaire-based approach but is compatible with both Windows and Mac. It has a user community that is helpful and responsive, and its software contains features such as My Life Locker and Digital Vault to protect your documents from cyber-threats. Its highest-tier packages include a second will for a discount, which is ideal for spouses or partners who want to make a reciprocal will.
A seasoned Chicago estate lawyer can also provide advice on minimizing exposure to inheritance, gift, and estate taxes. With tax laws constantly changing, it is vital to have a firm that stays up to date on the latest changes and advises clients accordingly.
Even with careful planning, disputes can arise after a person’s death. These issues can involve disputes among family members, beneficiaries, and trustees, or they could arise because a fiduciary has breached their duty to the estate. In either case, an experienced estate litigation lawyer can resolve the dispute through negotiations or litigation as needed. The heirs of an estate often have claims against the executor, and the lawyer can help validate those claims before filing them with the court. They can also defend a fiduciary against allegations of wrongdoing or self-dealing. The best attorneys will have a proven track record of success in handling these types of matters. They should be able to demonstrate that they have a solid understanding of the law, and be able to explain it in ways that are clear and simple to understand.