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6 Estate Planning Myths

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We are all guilty of putting something off to a later date. And if there is one thing that is very high on that list, it is taking care of our estate planning. Often, we just don’t want to think about our death and most of our lives; we don’t consider our mortality. But none of us are getting out of this thing alive. We have all lost people in our lives, and it is always too soon.

Getting past procrastination often requires understanding precisely what we must do. When it comes to estate planning there are several misconceptions. And they can be very costly.

I Don’t Own Enough to Need Estate Planning

If you have assets that total more than $100,000 in value, your entire estate is subject to Probate Court. A Small Estates Affidavit can distribute an estate with a collective estate value of less than $100,000.

Probate exists because no one can sign our name for us. If you die with assets in your name, a Probate Court judge issues in order, allowing an Executor to be authorized to sign your name and distribute your property to your beneficiates or heirs.  You can appoint someone to sign your name now, and you should have a current Durable Power of Attorney selecting a trusted Agent. However, that document is revoked by law upon death, so it cannot be used to transfer assets at death.

My Estate Planning is Will; My Estate Won’t go into Probate.

All Wills are subject to Probate. A Last Will and Testament is your wishes as to who receives your Estate and under what conditions. If you have a Will and assets in your name, they must go through Probate for distribution. Probate is a long and expensive process, with an average 18-24 months in time and thousands of dollars in attorney fees, bond and filing costs.

I Have Everything in Joint Tenancy

It is true that if you have a property title in more than one name, such as you and your spouse, the title to the property will pass to the surviving joint tenant by right of survivorship. However, upon the death of the survivor, the assets must go into Probate. You should never use Joint Tenancy for estate planning purposes.

Joint Tenancy is also risky. You should never add a new name to a property title. Your property would be subject to that persons’ liabilities, lawsuits, and claims. Also, if you add someone’s name, other than your spouse, to your property title after the purchase, there could be costly capital gains tax consequences.

Finally, even among spouses, if you hold property title in Joint Tenancy, the survivor may add a new spouse to the title. If the surviving spouse dies before the new spouse, then your property is going to the new spouse. And that is not something either of you had in mind right now, or ever.

I Am Too Young for Estate Planning.

No matter what age you are, you are too old not to have an estate plan. Death isn’t something for which we can make an appointment. Sudden events can change everything. Accidents can and do happen to anyone at any time.

Additionally, if you have young children, you must have an estate plan. Naming guardians for your children is one of the most important things you can do.  If you do not do so than the Probate Court decides who gets custody of the kids, and the court controls the money until they are 18 years old. And the kids get everything at 18. Not a good plan.

Living Trusts are Complicated and Expensive.

The exact opposite is true.

A Living Trust is an estate plan that allows you to manage your during your lifetime without restrictions or complications. The Trust then efficiently passes your assets to your chosen beneficiaries after your death. At the end of your life, or if you become incapacitated, if you have property or bank accounts in your name, they are at risk of Probate. You title your assets in the name of your Trust now, and therefore, avoid Probate. Your  Trustee takes care of all distributions to your chosen beneficiaries. Included in a Living Trust are Financial and Health Care Power of Attorney documents.

The cost is considerably less than the price of a Will and its Probate costs.

What the Zoom is Going On?

Today, you don’t even have to leave your house to complete an estate planning. All documents, witnesses and notary can be accomplished via Zoom conferencing. Of course, you always have the option to come to our office. We are in the West Loop, and your parking is free.

Your best plan?  Call today and lock in your reduced rate and start your Living Trust right now, or visit our website for further information and to register online.  www.tuohylawoffices.com 312-559-8400

In Office Meetings

Since we are allowed to continue to have in-person appointments with clients during COVID-19 restrictions, we will be available in the office to see you. However, we will be adhering to strict CDC guidelines.

We will provide a free parking space for you in the lot behind our building.

Contact us today for further information or visit Tuohy Law Offices now.

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Tom Tuohy

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312-559-8400
820 West Jackson Boulevard  
Chicago, Illinois, 60607

This blog entry created for information and planning purposes. Therefore, it is not legal advice. Please do not use this blog as legal advice, which turns on specific facts, as well as laws in specific jurisdictions. No reader of this blog should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the reader’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction