I Have a Will or a Trust. Isn’t That Enough?

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Lifetime Trust vs. Wills

First of all, consider that a will takes effect only upon your death.. It has no bearing on how you and your business are cared for during your life when you can’t take care of yourself. So do you need a will or a trust or both?

Concerns that factors into the Will or aTrust debate

An often-overlooked part of estate planning is planning for mental disability. Perhaps you’ve been in the uncomfortable position of having to take care of a relative or friend who can’t handle his or her financial affairs anymore. If you own a business, there is far more to take care of should you become disabled.

When is it time to take away your checkbook and control of the business? Who decides that? Who will make business decisions for you? How should they take care of you? In short, who is in control when you cannot be? 

A business is a complex asset, and a simple will or form trust will not contain specific instructions adequate for planning the disposition of both the business and the family.

Also, many basic traditional will and trust plans won’t work because of how they were designed. There are two major problems with traditional estate planning:

Problem #1 with Estate Planning: Most estate plans have the wrong priorities! They focus primarily on tax planning, often to the exclusion of personal and family concerns, protections, and goals.

Problem #2 with Estate Planning: Many Estate plans don’t meet the expectations that the client had when the plan was designed. This most often occurs when clients and professional advisors see estate planning as a a transaction resulting in documents, rather than an ongoing process. Laws change. Family relationships change. Planning techniques change. Your plan should change too.

Your family will achieve the best estate planning results with counseling oriented advisors, and a plan that uses clear, comprehensive, customized instructions for your own care and that of your loved ones. The instructions might include a will, a trust, a power of attorney, a “living will,” and your other assets. 

Contact Anthony J. Madonia & Associates today to discuss your estate plan options with our Chicago IL estate plan attorneys.