Estate Planning, Asset Protection, & Probate
Estate Planning Law Firm Serving Madison, Macoupin, Bond, Greene, Jersey, Calhoun Counties In Illinois
The Law Firm of MillerKing LLC represents clients in comprehensive Estate Planning and Asset Protection, including the drafting of Last Testament & Wills, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Property Powers of Attorney, Transfer on Death Instruments (TODI), and Trusts. Our lawyers will meet with each client in a personalized, comfortable, and confidential setting to discuss and analyze unique, legal, and practical solutions. Each client and family have specialized and diverse needs, plans, and intentions. Therefore, each estate plan is more than drafting a simple Will without a deeper reflection. A comprehensive estate plan should review all assets, belongings, property as well as design a personalized plan for healthcare, if one becomes disabled. The comprehensive estate plan must take into account the proper Executor or Trustee – persons who hold a fiduciary duty and shall be responsible when administering assets, belongings, and property. Each estate plan document is designed and drafted in a customized manner to protect the client’s best interests and to carry out the client’s wishes and intentions.
The Law Firm of MillerKing LLC represents clients in Probate Court and in Trust Administration. This includes the Administration of Estates (opening and closing estates in Wrongful Death cases, probating an Estate with a Will, and probating an Estate without a Will). Finally, MillerKing LLC represents clients in Guardianships for disabled adults and minor children in Probate Court.
Under a Last Will & Testament, the person (testator) directs the manner and method of distribution of property real estate, tangible or intangible, and personal property. The purpose of a Will is to transfer assets, belongings, and property in a clear and concise manner and method to the next generation or beneficiaries (legatees). The testator’s intent should be clearly defined, well-thought, and practical. A Last Will & Testament is entirely revocable and can remain private until the time of death. The original Will must be filed with the Court after the person’s death in a timely manner.
Probate is a court process for administering a deceased person’s Estate by interpreting the Last Will & Testament (testate) or when someone dies without a Last Will & Testament (intestate). There are many types of assets that are not subject to Probate, such as joint tenancy property (property owned together), life insurance, retirement benefits, and trust assets. The Probate Court is the judicial process or court of jurisdiction to determine any claims, disputes, and transfer of assets, belongings, and property. Litigation or disputes may arise in Probate Court, such as creditors filing claims or a Will contest.
Under 755 ILCS 27/1, et seq., the Illinois statute permits an owner to transfer residential real estate to one or more beneficiaries with the condition that the conveyance does not become effective until the death of the owner. The TODI must be signed and witnessed in a manner similar to a Will and be recorded before the owner’s death. The TODI deed is revocable during the owner’s lifetime. The owner retains and keeps the right to sell or encumber his or her real estate. The beneficiary of a TODI deed must file a Notice of Death Affidavit in the county recorder’s office within 30 days of the owner’s death.
A Trust generally goes into effect during a person’s lifetime unlike a Last Will & Testament – which only becomes effective upon death. A Trust may be revocable or irrevocable. If a Trust is revocable, then the document is capable of being changed, amended, or terminated like a Last Will & Testament. If a Trust is irrevocable, then it cannot be changed, amended, or terminated. The purpose of a Trust is to transfer assets, belongings, and property in a clear and concise manner and method to the next generation or beneficiaries outside of Probate process. The creator of the Trust names or nominates a Trustee (similar to an Executor being named or nominated in a Will) – who holds a fiduciary duty – responsible for administering and transferring the Trust assets, belongings, and property. It is necessary and important that the Trust’s terms are properly understood, and the Trust is funded (actual assets, belongings, and property are titled in the name of the Trust). With a Trust, there is latitude, flexibility, and privacy (does not automatically become public record) regarding the structuring, funding, amending, and transferring of assets, belongings, and property.
The choice of a lawyer is a significant and vital decision.
First, it is prudent to visit a lawyer’s website to obtain basic information. A well-designed website should provide contact information, biographical information, and basic content in an ethical and understandable manner.
Second, it is important to schedule an initial meeting or consultation. Some consultations may be handled by phone, but many initial meetings or consultations should be conducted in person. By visiting a lawyer’s office, the potential client may interact with staff, evaluate the law firm’s organization, professionalism, and hospitality, and assess the potential attorney-client relationship first-hand. Do you feel comfortable? Is the law firm professional? Is the environment welcoming? Do you believe that your case will be handled competently and with open lines of communication? Did the lawyer listen? An open and honest meeting in a confidential setting may alleviate or lessen fears, anxieties, stress, and unknowns.
Finally, the potential client and lawyer must agree on timelines, expectations, fees, costs, and acknowledge that no outcome is guaranteed or promised. The potential client and lawyer must understand and acknowledge each person’s role and obligation within the attorney-client relationship.
The Estate Planning process (Will or Trust), Trust Administration, or Probate Court process can be complicated, confusing, stressful, and time-consuming. As a team at MillerKing LLC, we work diligently and professionally to help clients make informed decisions about their estate plan as well as providing representation following a loved one’s death. We try to make this process comfortable, confidential, affordable, and understandable. We strive to provide unique, practical, legal, and realistic solutions in the best interest of each client especially for clients who have recently lost a spouse, family member, or loved one.
DISCLAIMERS: The content of this website is neither legal advice nor intended to be legal advice. This website is meant to convey only basic and general information related to common legal issues. You, the user, should consult an attorney for legal advice concerning your specific situation. Accessing and viewing this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. We welcome and invite you to contact the MillerKing LLC via phone, email, or letter. Contacting MillerKing LLC through any communication methods does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not forward any privileged, confidential, original, and/or time sensitive information or documentation to MillerKing LLC unless and until such time or event that an attorney-client relationship has been formed. If you would like to schedule a legal consultation or case review, please use one of the listed contact methods. The use of the Internet or this content form for communication with MillerKing LLC or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.