One of the most common questions our experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys get from clients is, “What kind of estate should I choose? Which is right for me?” The answer is that it depends on what you want people to have and when you want them to have it! A good estate planning attorney knows that estates are very customizable and will work with you to determine what kind of estate you should create. Here is an overview of some common ways our Illinois estate planning clients choose to leave their estate to others.
“Present estate” is the legal term describing an estate that a person can hold for an indefinite duration. There are three general types of present estates you will want to consider:
- Fee Simple Absolute – This term simply means that you give someone absolute ownership of a property for a potentially indefinite duration. That person is free to use and sell the property in any way they see fit.
- Defeasible Fee – This term describes estates given to others that are of a potentially infinite duration, but that can be terminated by the occurrence of an event. For example: you can specify that a beneficiary owns the property unless a certain condition is triggered, such as that person no longer using it as their personal home. With defeasible fees, if the specified condition occurs, ownership of that property reverts back to you.
- Life Estate – This describes property given to others for the duration of a life, whether theirs or someone else’s. For example: if you are worried about your grandchildren always having a place to live, you could leave an apartment to your daughter so she can use it for the life of her youngest child.
“Future interest” describes the situation where you give someone an interest in property that will take effect at some point in the future. There are many different ways to do this. For example, you could specify in your will that you want your son to have your house so long as your grandchildren are living with him, but also specify that if your grandchildren stop living with him that the house then goes to your daughter. Another common example is providing that all of your grandchildren will split a common pool of money upon your death. More grandchildren may be born after you create your will, however, this allows you to provide for them in the future.
What Information Will Help Me Decide on an Estate?
It is important you not only consult with an experienced estate planning attorney when deciding how to construct your will and other estate documents, but also that you come prepared to discuss your assets. It will help if you make a list of all of the assets you are wanting to distribute, the people whom you want to receive specific assets, and when you want them to receive them.
Need Estate Planning Help?
No matter what your assets are or who you want to receive them, the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at M&A Law will work with you to ensure your wishes are carried out. For help planning your estate, contact M&A Law Firm, PC, today.