Fox Valley Estate Planning Blog

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The idea of doing Estate Planning can seem depressing, and thinking about it can be daunting. Who really knows anything about estate planning (other than lawyers and  experts)? As with many things, however, confronting those unpleasant feelings can be empowering.
While Estate Planning can get complex, there are some simple things you can do and some simple things you should not do that will give you some control over the unknown and peace of mind that you are on the right path. These simple things are not sufficient, by themselves, as a comprehensive Estate Plan, but they will set you
Continue Reading Some Simple Estate Planning Do’s and Dont’s

If You Have Ever Thought, “I just need a simple will,” Read This Now
One of the common statements I hear from clients is this: “I just need a simple will”. I hear it all the time. According to legal blogger, Katya Sverdlow, ninety percent (90%) of the people who say, “I just need a simple will,” are wrong. 
I am not sure about the percentage, but I know what she is saying. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that ninety percent of the people who say they need a simple will are wrong, but I may
Continue Reading “I Just Need a Simple Will”

Financial anxiety is a common issue for seniors. Many older adults live on fixed incomes and have more expenses than they can easily cover. Moreover, it’s relatively common for people after retirement be uncertain about their financial situation and not know, realistically, how stable you are – or aren’t. This uncertainty can breed anxiety that isn’t truly supported by reality.

If you are anxious about providing for your loved ones when you are gone or how your money will be handled if you become unable to manage your own affairs, estate planning can put you at ease. At Drendel &
Continue Reading How Seniors Can Manage Financial Anxiety

One of the most common questions, and an area of much misunderstanding, involves the difference between a Trust and a Will. I have not addressed the subject in some time, so doing so again seems appropriate.

I will begin with an explanation of Wills since people seem to have a better idea of the concept of a Will. Trusts (for estate planning purposes) are probably best understood in comparison with Wills.

What is a Will?

A Will is a testamentary document, meaning that it will take effect upon the death of the person who executed it. A Will is designed
Continue Reading What is the Difference Between a Trust and a Will?

When it comes to protecting your family and loved ones, most parents will do whatever it takes to support their future. Especially during these uncertain times, families and couples are facing tremendous challenges when it comes to their health, mental well-being, relationship, and financial security. If you are a new parent, single parent, or a couple looking forward to children in the future, some important considerations can help you prepare for this responsibility.

Build a Solid Foundation
As a couple interested in pursuing a life together and potentially a family, it’s important that you work together and begin your
Continue Reading Family and Future Planning Advice Amidst Uncertain Times

The Internet has opened up the world for do-it-yourselfers, including the option do your own estate planning.  People have saved a tremendous amount of money by “Googling it” and finding how-to videos and instructions on all kinds of things. From alternatives to medicine that promise relief from ailment and good health to do-it-yourself Will kits, there is something for everyone.
On the subject of Wills and estate planning, specifically, many resources, Like Legal Zoom, have been around for years offering very low-cost options for people who want to save money and take control of their own destinies. The forms come
Continue Reading How Well Can You Answer Some Common Estate Planning Questions?

Anyone who is thinking about estate planning thinks (or should be thinking) about probate. Probate is the term that generally describes the administration of an estate of a deceased person. Probate is also the process for administrating the estate of a deceased person that is established in the State Probate Act.  That process is handled through the court system.
Probate is not the only way to handle an estate. It is the default process – the process that will apply unless you take steps to avoid probate. Avoiding probate is often a primary goal in doing estate planning. In this
Continue Reading Probate by the Numbers

Most people help their children when their children need help, even when they are adults. Sometimes that means making “loans” to them. You should think about how to handle gifts or loans to children in a Will or Trust. Your family will thank you for it!
Imagine that your son’s car breaks down, and he needs a car to get to work. Student loan debt and the cost of living puts your daughter behind on rent. Your child’s young family struggling to make ends meet can’t make the mortgage payment. You naturally want to step in to help out.
Continue Reading How to Handle Gifts or Loans to Children in a Will or Trust

Trusts are very robust and handy estate planning tools. If you are not familiar with trusts, perhaps you should read some articles that explain what trusts are (See Trusts Compared to Corporations; The Benefits of Living Trusts; and Avoiding Probate is a Matter of Trust) Even if you are familiar with trusts, the difference between revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts may remain a mystery.
Both kinds of trusts, however, are considered “living trusts”; in other words, they are trusts created by a person who is alive (though all trusts become irrevocable when the grantor dies). Revocable trusts
Continue Reading The Difference Between Irrevocable Trusts and Revocable Trusts

Trusts are very robust and handy estate planning tools. If you are not familiar with trusts, perhaps you should read some articles that explain what trusts are (See Trusts Compared to Corporations; The Benefits of Living Trusts; and Avoiding Probate is a Matter of Trust) Even if you are familiar with trusts, the difference between revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts may remain a mystery.

In this article, I will explain the difference between revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts and the circumstances in which a person might want to use one or the other.

Revocable Trusts

Revocable trusts are much more
Continue Reading The Difference Between Irrevocable Trusts and Revocable Trusts

Some significant changes affecting trusts have come to Illinois with the New Year. Effective January 1, 2020, the Illinois Trust Code replaced the Illinois Trusts and Trustees Act. One of the biggest areas of change involves the duty of a trustee to provide an accounting.

One of the hallmarks of the fiduciary duty that applies to the trustees of a trust (and to other fiduciaries) is the duty to provide an accounting. This has always been the case. The new Illinois Trust Code changes the scope of that duty, however, in a number of significant ways. The changes include: 1)
Continue Reading The New Illinois Trust Code – Accounting

It’s no secret that having a family isn’t cheap. Expenses increase with each addition, and things you never thought were needed in your home suddenly become a necessity. The moment you realize you’re about to become a parent, you can start planning for the financial changes that will come with the new addition to your household.

Take a Look at Your Finances

You should look at your financial situation in two steps:

  • How much more is this new life going to cost? An online calculator can help you figure out those expenses so you can create a new budget for

  • Continue Reading This Is Why Some Parents Never Worry About Money

    I’ve seen it time and time again. A client comes in who has added a son, or a daughter, or a grandchild, or a niece or nephew, or someone else to the client’s bank account… or that is the client’s plan. It seems like a good idea. It gives another person access to the bank account for the payment of bills and other obligations. If anything happens to the account holder, the other person added to the account can take over the payment of bills and obligations, so they don’t go into default.

    It’s so simple to do. It’s easy.
    Continue Reading The Dangerous Rocks under the Waters of Joint Bank Accounts

    Fear of Estate Planning, as in doing a Will or Trust (or both) is a common malady. Everyone knows they should do something, but few people know exactly what that something is they should be doing. Fear of the unknown often keeps people from doing what they know they should do.
    That “something” we should begin doing starts with learning what we don’t know so that we know what we should be doing. There is no enemy to fear here but fear itself (to paraphrase a former president). Once you begin to chart a course into the unknown territory of
    Continue Reading Getting the Pieces of Your Estate Planning in Place

    If you are getting together with your family members this holiday season it may not seem like a great time to talk about dying, but actually it is! Hollywood has combined death and holidays for years. Well, truth be told, Dickens started it.
    A Christmas Carol is a look at the world without Scrooge, and the effect he had on people’s lives. But Dickens isn’t the only one. “It’s a Wonderful Life” focuses on George Bailey – and how his family and town would have fared without him.
    You may not want to think about the world without you in
    Continue Reading Holiday Humbug? Bah…Death is an Old, Old Story

    A new law takes effect on January 1, 2019, in Illinois, protecting visitation rights for the family members of elderly adults. Before this new law takes effect, guardians have effectively had the unilateral authority over visitation privileges and could prohibit, without recourse, family members and others from visiting with their elderly loved ones in another family member’s care.
    I have witnessed the unfairness of a family member taking control of a parent to the exclusion of other siblings. This new law will provide a remedy for the excluded family members. It will prevent guardians and caretakers from unilaterally and arbitrarily
    Continue Reading New Law Protects Visitation Rights for Elderly Adults