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ESTATE PLANNING

Wills

You can direct the distribution of your assets and name the personal representative of your estate and a guardian for your minor children by having a valid Will. In the absence of a valid Will, your assets that are not transferred by law at death (such as those assets held in joint tenancy with right of survivorship) or by suitable designation of beneficiaries (as contained in insurance policies, retirement accounts and most Illinois land trusts), will be transferred in accordance with the laws of intestate succession. This default distribution plan often will not coincide with your intentions. A valid Will gives you the opportunity to customize the transfer of your accumulated assets after death to the people or organizations you choose. A carefully drafted Will can also be used to disinherit persons or to minimize the amount of assets transferred to them at death. It can also minimize the amount of estate taxes that might otherwise be due, by making effective use of the unlimited marital deduction or prudent charitable deductions.

Our Estate Planning attorneys will determine whether you need a Will or if your current Will should be updated based on changed circumstances, such as a death, marriage, divorce, and birth or adoption of children. When seeking an Estate Planning lawyer, you can be assured that the Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd. in Naperville, Illinois has the required experience to explore the various estate planning options available to you.

Trusts

Trusts are commonly used for estate planning purposes for several reasons: to avoid probate, including its associated costs, extended time and public disclosures; to facilitate competent management of assets even through a period of disability; to provide a mechanism for the substitution of trustees; or to preserve assets and insure the availability of financial resources for identified beneficiaries. Trusts may also be created for insurance policies, to support charities, to generate immediate income tax deductions and to save on potential estate taxes.

The Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd. can assist you in drafting, amending and/or interpreting Trust Agreements of various types. Many clients request our help in establishing revocable trusts (often described as “living” trusts) to be used in conjunction with pour over Wills, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts or other estate planning instruments. When looking for an Estate Planning lawyer, you can be assured that the Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd. has the required experience to effectively assist you in creating a plan designed to meet your individual requirements.

Power of Attorney for Health Care

Illinois has a statutory, short form Power of Attorney for Health Care, which enables an individual to grant to his/her designated agent the power to make medical decisions, based on guidelines chosen by the individual. As your Health Care Power of Attorney we express your intentions in writing, in a legal document that is widely recognized by care providers. Having a Health Care Power of Attorney available during a time of medical emergency can permit doctors and nurses to act quickly knowing that your designated agent has legal authority to make critical health care decisions.

Our experienced Estate Planning attorneys can help you decide if a Power of Attorney for Health Care is appropriate for your specific situation. You can be assured that the Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd., in Naperville, IL has the experience to effectively review the health care directives available to you.

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Power of Attorney for Property

Similar to a Power of Attorney for Health Care, a Power of Attorney for Property is provided by Illinois Statute. In a Power of Attorney for Property, the individual grants authority to another person (the agent) to enter into various types of financial transactions on his/her behalf, as well as engage in purchase and sale of investments and real estate, apply for loans, open or close safe deposit boxes, resolve tax claims and litigation, conduct his/her business operations, and perform other types of authorized financial activities as well.

Our Estate Planning attorneys can assist you in preparing Powers of Attorney for Property to fit your particular needs or evaluate any property Power of Attorney documents you currently have in place. The Naperville, IL based Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd. has considerable experience to explore the various estate planning options available to you.

Living Wills

A Living Will is similar to the Power of Attorney for Health Care in that it is an expression of a person’s intentions regarding the use of life-prolonging medical procedures. However, a Living Will is much narrower in scope because it only applies in cases of incurable or irreversible injury or illness or terminal conditions, and does not designate a particular agent to make general decisions regarding medical treatment. A Living Will should be made at a point in time when a person still has mental capacity before illness or medications impair an ability to understand. A Living Will can minimize the emotional burden on family members who might otherwise be faced with stressful, subjective decisions on medical care or procedures to be withheld or provided near the moment of death.

The experienced Estate Planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward P. Graham, Ltd. in our Naperville, IL office can help you decide if a living will is appropriate for your specific situation. You can be assured that our lawyers will review your specific estate planning objectives and provide you with effective assistance in pre-planning the handling of your affairs in the last stages of life. Don’t wait until an unfortunate event happens.

 

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