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Estate Planning

Money-Saving Tips with Estate Planning

By October 19, 2011No Comments

This may sound counterintuitive coming from a lawyer, but my practice is purposely designed around protecting families and loving interests and saving my clients money. Yes, and I am a lawyer and said, “I want to save folks money.”

So for the next few months, the focal point of my blog posts will be how you can save money through estate planning. Of course, I’ll digress occasionally, but I’ll return to the course in due time.

Sometimes the discussion will be about how certain estate planning processes clients experience may be costly or inexpensive depending on the approach. Other times, the discussion will address decisions that may be costly or may save you a bundle depending on various considerations and scenarios.

So let’s get started and today’s piece will cover very basic ways to save with wills or, more accurately, the lack of one or keeping the cost of probate down if the estate requires one.

Money Saver Tips:

  1. In Illinois, if the estate is less than or equal to $100,000.00, probate and its accompanying court costs may not be necessary.
  2. If at any time your estate grows to more than $100,000.00, a valid will that is kept current may save your heirs thousands in having to open a significant estate where there is no will or the will is invalid.
  3. A valid will has 2 witnesses and is not handwritten. Save some money and don’t get it notarized. Wills in Illinois do not require notarization.
  4. When calculating the size of your estate for probate purposes, do not include life insurance; life insurance and retirement plans are not part of the probate estate. So if all you have is a $50,000 home and no creditors, see Money Saver Tip #1.
  5. If your estate is more than $100,000.00 and you aren’t completely sure about how to distribute your assets, don’t use a DIY program or a Big Box Store will-in-a-box. Refer to Money Saver Tip #2 for the possible consequences.

Tune in next week for money-saving tips with estate planning.

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