Remote Estate Plan
At Wills & Trusts, we were founded with the needs of our clients in mind. On the one hand, the vast majority of individuals who are considering estate planning should not use a canned, cookie cutter fill in the blank type of online will, e.g. those prepared by LegalZoom. It’s true documents can be prepared online, but there is no nuance, expertise or specificity. When it comes to your legacy, one size does not fit all. Furthermore, these quasi legal organizations are skirting a line when it comes to their services. They are essentially providing legal advice with a disclaimer that they are not a law firm and they don’t provide legal advice.
On the other side of the equation, the stodgy estate planning format utilized by law firms in the past is not well suited to the needs of many people today. For one, many people find it inconvenient to drive to a law office and to sit for a formal will signing ceremony with two witnesses along with a notary in a musty conference room with green legal lamps and statute books from the 1950s. Many people also find it difficult to arrange a will signing ceremony with their agents and witnesses during a standard work day. Further, many people who are considering comprehensive estate planning are nearing the end of their lives, and so they might find ambulation or transportation difficult.
Utilizing legal developments, we were inspired to create a new paradigm for estate planning. What if the service, professionalism and experience of a traditional law firm could be coupled with the convenience and comfort of preparing an online will. This is part of the value proposition of Wills & Trusts. Our methodology has finally brought estate planning into the 21st century.
Our methodology and philosophy is straightforward, and the infographics below show our process. We will guide you every step of the remote estate planning process. All you need is:
- A Stable Internet Connection
- The ability to download ZOOM or Microsoft Teams
- A Printer with Scan or Fax Capability
At Wills & Trusts, we can handle your estate plan matter quickly, economically, professionally and remotely. If you have questions about a remote estate plan, call us at 815.770.7242 for a no-obligation consultation with one of our attorneys.
On March 26, 2020, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-14, which was amended and re-issued by Executive Order 2020-33 on April 30, 2020, and again re-issued by Executive Order 2020-39 on May 29, 2020. These orders allow for remote witnessing and notarization procedures. On June 12, 2020, Governor Pritzker signed SB 2135 into law, providing statutory authorization for virtual executions.
Under the new law, the requirement that a person “appear before” an Illinois notary public under the Illinois Notary Act is satisfied if the notary public performs a remote notarization via two-way audio-video communication technology. The notary public is required to be physically within the State of Illinois while performing the notarial act.
Any act of witnessing required by Illinois law also may be completed by two-way audio-video communication technology, following specific procedures as described in the statute.
These unprecedented times are scary for us all. Though the numbers are still out, it seems that while coronavirus is mainly life-threatening only for the elderly and immunocompromised, it can also in some cases claim the lives of the young and the healthy. For many, this is a wakeup call. Between accidents and undetected medical issues, the young and seemingly healthy have never been death-proof, but the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus and the way it has swept the globe is forcing many to confront their mortality for the first time.
The truth is, no one will live forever, and none of us know for sure how much time we have left. That is why it is so important to have an estate plan in place no matter your age or your situation in life. Today, we are looking at some of the reasons coronavirus has made estate planning more important than ever before.
1. Estate planning allows you to make your wishes known in case you are ever incapacitated.
If you are on a ventilator, struggling for every breath, you probably don’t want to be bothered with making important decisions regarding your finances or your healthcare. With proper powers of attorney you can grant a trusted person the authority to attend to these matters on your behalf. A durable healthcare power of attorney can also make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unconscious.
2. Your estate plan can make arrangements for who inherits your “stuff”.
Most people want to have a say in who inherits the assets that they have worked hard to acquire over the course of their lives. If you do not have an estate plan in place, your assets will be passed down to your heirs in accordance with intestate law. Your estate plan also gives you a chance to make sure that your loved ones receive the most of your assets possible, and that as little as possible goes to estate taxes and probate fees. Want to donate some of your money to research that aims to prevent pandemics? You can do that with your estate plan, too.
3. Your family will have access to your information and know your wishes.
Imagine that you are in the hospital, struggling to recover from coronavirus, unable to communicate. Your utility bills at home are going unpaid. The hospital bills are piling up. What if none of your loved ones know your banking information? Your passwords? The usernames for your accounts with the electric company and internet company? Careful estate planning can keep you and your loved ones from landing in this confusing and stressful predicament.
Are you ready to be proactive? If you do not have an estate plan at all, you need to sit down with an attorney to create one. If your plan has not been updated in the last three years, it’s time for a review. Our team is here to help. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you build an estate plan that is perfectly tailored to your unique needs and values. We can’t wait to hear from you!
- Liquidity. This refers to assets that can be easily converted into cash, with minimum impact on the price.
- Sentiment. These are assets that have sentimental value, like personal properties and vacation homes.
- Tax Planning. Taxes come into play in estate planning as well, adding complications and expenses.
If you do not have a plan, or if you only have a Last Will (yes, even with a Will), you are forcing your family to go through probate upon your death. Probate is the legal process for settling your estate, and even if you have a will, it is notoriously slow, costly, and public. With no plan at all, the probate process can be a true nightmare for your loved ones.
Depending on the complexity of your estate, probate can take months, or even years, to complete and, like most court proceedings, probate can be expensive. In fact, once all of your debts, taxes, and court fees have been paid, there might be nothing left for anyone to inherit. If there are any assets left, your family will likely have to pay hefty attorney’s fees and court costs in order to claim them.
Yet, the most burdensome part of probate is the frustration and anxiety it can cause your loved ones. In addition to grieving your death, planning your funeral, and contacting everyone you are close with, your family will be stuck dealing with a crowded court system that can be challenging to navigate even in the best of circumstances. Plus, the entire affair is open to the public, which can make things all the more arduous for those you leave behind, especially if the wrong people take an interest in your family’s affairs.
That said, the expense and drama of the court system can be almost totally avoided with proper planning. Using a trust, for example, can ensure that your assets pass directly to your family upon your death, without the need for any court intervention. As long as you have planned properly, just about everything can happen in the privacy of our office and on your family’s time.