You work hard to build your career, nurture your family, and care for your loved ones. You know there are some things you need to be prepared for, but you do not know where to begin. The Law Office of Joni Beth Bailey can help you find the legal solutions that fit your needs and your budget.
Guardianship & Transition Planning
Americans are living longer than ever. This means that most seniors will transition from living independently to assisted living and then to a nursing home over a period of several years.
- Some families will face the challenge of the early onset of Alzheimer’s or other dementia in their loved ones. Planning can protect the resources of the well spouse from being consumed by the cost of the care for the ill spouse.
- Many family members devote their time, talent, and resources to improving the quality of life for their loved ones in these difficult years. They often put the needs of the senior above their own jobs, homes, and health. Planning can make sure these generous family members or friends are compensated for their contribution if that is the wish of the senior.
- Unfortunately, many seniors fall prey to exploitation, fraud, and abuse by others, even friends, trusted advisors, and family members. Planning can protect assets from the most common types of exploitation. Legal action may be necessary to recover assets from the wrongdoer and to prevent further exploitation.
- End of life decisions often fall to an agent under a power of attorney. Planning can give the senior peace of mind because the agent will know what the senior would want them to do in those difficult situations.
There are many pitfalls to avoid, many mistakes that cannot be reversed, many choices to make, and many common beliefs that are untrue when it comes to managing personal care, relationships, and assets in the final years of life. Take time to review your documents, discuss your wishes, and document your plan for that important chapter. Planning now will help you live comfortably and independently for as long as possible. The law office of Joni Beth Bailey is here to help you move forward to the next chapter.
When a member of your family or a close friend dies, with or without a will, you should probably consult with an attorney for guidance and assistance in administering the estate. This process may involve probate, a small estate affidavit, or distribution of assets from a trust.
- The first step is to locate and secure the most recent will or declaration of trust. The attorney who prepared it can explain whether or not probate will be necessary.
- The second step is to secure and inventory the assets. You may need assistance or advice on how and when to distribute or dispose of the things that belonged to the decedent (the person who died), how to handle pending claims or litigation, and how to deal with family members who want immediate possession of certain items.
- The third step is to identify all potential claims and debts. This is critical to the proper administration of an estate, whether probate is involved or not.
- The final step is to distribute the assets to the claim holders, heirs, legatees (people who received a gift in a will), or beneficiaries (people who received a gift in a trust).
It is important that the executor, administrator, or trustee is trustworthy, organized, and diligent. Depending on the planning done by the decedent (the person who died) and the size and complexity of his or her estate, the job can be simple or it can be a long, difficult process.
Consulting with an attorney from the very beginning and cooperating with an attorney throughout the process of the administration of the estate will help the executor, administrator, trustee, heirs, legatees, and beneficiaries confidently carry out the wishes of their loved one who has died without making costly mistakes.
Call The Law Office of Joni Beth Bailey today for advice if you have been named as executor of a will or you are the survivor of a loved one or relative who has recently died.
Wills, Trusts & Powers of Attorney
There have been many changes in recent years that make it easier than ever for families and individuals to work with their attorney to draft affordable wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estates that pass their property exactly the way they want at the time of their death.
If you have not updated your will or trust or assessed your estate in several years because you are worried about the expense, it may be time for you to consult with an attorney to make sure your will or trust will accomplish the objectives that are most important in the simplest possible way.
- Unmarried individuals may not want their property to pass to their nearest relatives. A will, a trust, or the relatively new Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI) can leave assets to the desired legatees without extensive probate costs or delays.
- Parents of young children can name the person or persons they would trust the most to raise their children in the event of the parents’ death.
- Illinois has adopted a new standard Power of Attorney for Health Care and Power of Attorney for Property in Illinois. Most attorneys recommend additional language for the greatest flexibility. If you have not updated your Power of Attorney in the past 5 years, take some time to review your documents and meet with your attorney to make sure they will give your agent the right powers at the right time.
- Illinois has enacted the Pet Trust Act to help individuals make plans for the care of their pets after they die.
If you would like to review your existing will, trust, power of attorney, prepare new ones, or assess your estate, call The Law Office of Joni Beth Bailey.