Peoria Trusts and Estates Law Firm Helps Protect Your Property
Assisting families with an orderly transfer of assets
Assets earned over a lifetime should not be squandered or distributed according to the government’s priorities. No matter the size or complexity of your estate, our attorneys with Westervelt, Johnson, Nicoll & Keller, LLC provide the advice and assistance that allows you to protect and control what you own. Even if you have current plans for the distribution of your property, it’s important to understand that managing your estate is an ongoing process. We can help you review and modify your estate plan when changes in your assets or among your beneficiaries dictate.
Providing advice on various estate planning tools
We provide a complete range of estate planning services and can explain which instruments might work best for you, including:
- Will drafting and execution — Our attorneys will help you create a clear, complete document that explicitly expresses your wishes, thereby reducing the possibility of confusion or conflict.
- Trusts — Many people believe that trusts are only for those with large estates, but a trust can benefit anyone who wishes to transfer their property efficiently. Our attorneys have significant experience in drafting and administering trusts. Should you wish to create one, we can guide you through the process.
- Provisions for minor children — If you’re the parent of minor children, the most important estate planning decision you can make is to appoint a guardian — someone you trust to raise your children should you pass away. We can help memorialize your wishes for raising your children and create a plan for their financial support if the need arises.
At each step of the process, we will fully explain all of your options so that you can determine how best to accomplish your personal objectives.
Helping clients limit their exposure to estate taxes
Federal and Illinois laws require that taxes be paid when the total value of an estate exceeds a certain level. For deaths in 2016, Illinois requires a tax return be filed for an estate whose estimated gross value exceeds $4 million. This is slightly lower than the federal standard of $5.45 million. Our attorneys advise you on whether your estate will be subject to these taxes. We also ensure that nothing is excluded when planning your estate so that your beneficiaries won’t learn too late that your estate value exceeds the threshold.
Drafting living wills to direct your healthcare
We assist people in drafting documents to direct their medical care in the event that they become incapacitated by illness or injury. Unlike actual wills, these healthcare directives do not distribute property, but they can save your loved ones from difficult decisions and considerable expense. We can also help you draft a durable power of attorney so that a trusted person, known as an agent, is appointed to carry out your medical wishes if you cannot communicate them. To make things easier on your agent, you can also execute a declaration stating the types of treatment you do not wish to have in dire circumstances.
Delivering strong advocacy in probate and will disputes
Conflicts over a loved one’s estate make an already difficult situation much worse. Disputes can drag on for years. To avoid such scenarios, we take extreme care in drafting estate planning documents to guard against future contests and potential challenges. If a disagreement winds up in probate court, we provide strong advocacy to enforce the decedent’s wishes.