Protect Your Assets with a Trust

Protect Your Assets with a Trust

Estate planning often includes creating a will, which ensures that the decedent’s various assets will be properly distributed when they die. However, in addition to a will, you might also want to consider choosing to set up a trust. They can be a wonderful way to help keep your assets safe and can offer a range of other benefits.

Trusts are legal contracts, which are drafted by attorneys. There is a named trustee in the contract, that will manage the assets when you are alive and after you have passes away. Let’s look at some of the best reasons to choose a trust.

No Need for Probate

Probate can be a lengthy process that goes through the courts after you die to determine what happens with your assets and to ensure that your will is followed—if you took the initiative to make a will. If you don’t have a will, the court decides what happens with the assets. You can avoid probate in most cases and ensure that the assets go where you want them to when you put them into a trust. You will also appreciate that trusts are private, whereas wills are not.

Trusts Allow for Greater Customization

You can create a trust that’s part of your will or have a separate trust. With trusts, you will have greater options for customizing what happens with the assets. For example, you can include conditions, such as the recipient will not receive the asset until they reach a certain age. You could also put certain guidelines on how the assets can be used.

When you work with your attorney, they can let you know the options you have available when you create a trust. This will make it easier to get the perfect plan set up for your situation.

Trusts Are Easy to Change

One of the other great things about trusts is that it’s easy to make changes to them whenever you need to. Amending the trust with the help of your attorney tends to be fast and easy. You might find that you need to make changes in several instances. Perhaps you have a new child or grandchild that you want to put into the trust. Maybe you had a falling out with someone and you want to make sure they don’t get your assets.

As part of your estate planning process, be sure to speak with your attorney about trusts, so you can see whether it’s the right solution for you.

Why a Will Should Be First Up in the New Year

Why a Will Should Be First Up in the New Year

With the New Year upon us, many people are making and trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions. Something that should be on your resolution list—and everyone’s for that matter—is to make a will. However, many people continue to put off drafting a will, not wanting to believe they’ll ever need one. However, death comes for us all eventually. It’s far better for our loved ones if we prepare now.

The first thing you should do in the coming year is sit down with an attorney to set up a will. Let’s look at some of the most important reasons to get create a will.

It’s Better for Your Loved Ones

Your family and friends will be grieving when you pass away. They need time to grieve and to understand their loss rather than worrying about what will happen with your estate. You want to take as many variables and questions off the table as possible. Having a proper will drawn up will reduce the amount of stress on your family, and it can reduce the risk of family squabbles and altercations.

You Get to Determine Who Gets Assets and Property

Even if you haven’t put it in writing, there is a good chance that you already know where you want your assets and property to go. You know where you want it to go when you die. If you die without a will, though, you don’t get to make these choices. It ends up being in the hands of the court, which could make decisions you don’t agree with. The wrong people could end up with your property.

Ensure Your Children Will Be Cared For

If you have minor children, you want them to have the proper care in the event that you pass away. Typically, the surviving parent will have custody of the kids, but if both parents die, what happens? With a will, you can assign a guardian, who will be responsible for taking care of the children’s needs. If you don’t choose a guardian, the court will choose one, which means you might have someone raising your kids that you wouldn’t have picked.

These are just some of the top reasons that creating a will needs to be done sooner rather than later. The New Year is the perfect time to take care of planning your estate, so be sure to get in touch with an attorney who is well-versed in wills and trusts. The sooner you act, the sooner you will have peace of mind.

Understanding the Succession Plan for Your Will

Understanding the Succession Plan for Your Will

Do you know how to leave your belongings in a way that ensures they will not be distributed the way you don’t want them distributed? The first place to start is with your will. There are many different ways people use wills, and not all of them accomplish what an owner might like for their property after death.

It’s less likely that you’ll be concerned about this because you’re young and healthy, but it could become an issue if something were to happen unexpectedly. What would happen if one day you weren’t able to make decisions anymore? Will everyone know exactly what to do regarding your possessions and assets?

Make Your Wishes Known In Your Will

Leaving a will is the only way to ensure your wishes are followed after death. In other words, who you want to handle your property after you pass away is something you can control when you prepare a will.

Although the process of preparing a valid will isn’t simple, it’s worth doing if you have enough assets to warrant one, according to any law offices in Illinois. If not, there are still steps you could take toward protecting your wishes for your property.

The Basics of Wills

When most people think about wills, they think about their homes or automobiles. However, this type of testament also includes other items like jewelry and personal belongings. Once included in a will, these things go directly to the beneficiaries named in the document.

Everything that was left out would be distributed through either intestate succession or through the state. If you have a will, there is no way anyone else will receive your belongings except in situations where a beneficiary dies before you do.

It is possible to name a contingent beneficiary, but this would only come into play if the person you wanted to receive your property before was not able to do so. The courts too have a say in all of this because they determine who receives what part of the estate.

Divorce and Wills

If you were legally married when preparing your will, the terms within it must be followed by all parties involved. If anyone wants out of the agreement after it’s been written, such as an ex-spouse or former boyfriend or girlfriend, there may be legal ramifications for them breaking their word.

This is why it’s critical that everyone agrees about how things should go over when one party dies. Because there can be disagreements among family members, it’s time to face all of this when preparing a will.

Call Bell Shah Law to Learn More About the Succession of Your Will

The importance of wills cannot be overstated because they are the only way to ensure that your wishes are followed after death is final. If you do not plan on writing one, make sure you at least discuss these issues with anyone close to you. It may seem like something you don’t need right now, but there is no better time than the present to make these plans for later. For more information on your will and how to set it upright, contact Bell Shah Law.

Reasons to Have a Will Confirming that You Want a DNR

Reasons to Have a Will Confirming that You Want a DNR

A do not resuscitate (DNR) order has one specific use. It is a legally binding directive signed by a physician at the request of a patient to inform medical personnel that a patient wishes not to be resuscitated when cardiac arrest occurs or when breathing stops. By and large, DNRs are included in wills when individuals are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses. Some examples are heart or lung ailments that may call for the use of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in an emergency.

People Have Requests on How They Pass On

The most common reason to include DNRs in wills is that individuals recognize their bodies are unlikely to completely recover from a resuscitation attempt. They no longer wish to be revived out of concern that the application of CPR may be ineffective. It could even result in bodily harm, brain damage, or long-term physical impairment. They do not want this type of situation to happen.

When CPR is administered to elderly or extremely ill patients, it leaves a lot of damage behind. Their bodies are often not able to get back to normal after being deprived of blood flow for minutes or even seconds. The probability that individuals will survive only to remain in a comatose state or be paralyzed for a long period of time is high in such cases. CPR also most often leads to bruises and broken ribs or even lacerated organs. In addition, ventilator machines are applied to breathe for patients, potentially harming the vocal cords and lungs. Finally, CPR recipients need a period of further treatment to undo excessive acid buildup in the body from oxygen deprivation. Then, they need to recover from the injuries resulting from the resuscitation attempt.

Letting People Know Your Wishes Makes a Big Difference

Would you want to be resuscitated if you understood the high probability that CPR would cause bodily damage and possibly lead to life in a coma? Most people would opt for a relatively quick and hopefully painless passing instead. That is what a DNR provides.

Learn more about how to create a DNR. Let us answer your questions regarding how to have this form added to your will.  Contact the experienced attorneys at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today to discuss your situation more fully.

Can You Transfer Ownership of a House in a Will?

Can You Transfer Ownership of a House in a Will?

One major goal of creating a will is to transfer property to individuals who survive a deceased person, typically family members or close friends. The property falls into two principal categories: real and personal. Real property consists of buildings and land, and personal property includes tangible objects such as jewelry and vehicles as well as intangible items such as cash, stocks, and bonds. Ownership of real property, for example, a house, can be transferred through a will as a bequest or gift.

Transferring Ownership of a House through a Will

Title to a house transferred in a will can only pass to a recipient after the probate process has been finalized. The will’s executor, the person assigned to carry out the terms of the will, initiates the process by filing the will with the local county probate court. The probate judge then authorizes the executor to follow the instructions spelled out in the will. The executor first creates a record of all the estate’s liabilities and assets, then takes care of the estate’s debts, and finally allocates property to the beneficiaries consistent with the terms of the will. If the house has a mortgage, the beneficiary acquires the property along with the mortgage.

Transferring the Title to the Beneficiary’s Name

After the house is obtained, the beneficiary is required to have the title transferred to his or her name. The transfer process varies from state to state, but most often involves applying for a transfer of title with the office of the local county recorder, which usually necessitates paying fees, supplying a certified copy of the previous owner’s death certificate, and sometimes the title to the house.

Since probate can be extremely time-consuming and complex, you may choose to transfer your house in a way that avoids having to go to probate court. Also, depending on the number of your assets, your estate could be required to pay estate taxes.

Bell & Shah Law Is Here to Help

No matter which method you choose to transfer ownership of your house, it’s important to consider the various conditions and possible complications before beginning the estate planning process. The knowledgeable attorneys at Bell & Shah Law, LLC can assist you in creating a plan that will best suit your needs and those of your family. Call us today for a free consultation.

Terms You Need to Know Before Having a Trust Written Up

Terms You Need to Know Before Having a Trust Written Up

Trusts are excellent estate planning instruments when their circumstances are set up properly. However, most people have scant knowledge of trusts and believe their estate has no need for one. In most cases, creating a trust may be well worth considering under the right circumstances, including:

  • If your personal net worth totals at least $100,000
  • You have considerable real estate assets
  • You have highly specific ideas about when and in what ways you want your estate to be allocated when you pass

When reading over a trust document, it can seem like it’s in a foreign language. This is often due to the profusion of obscure words and complex concepts. If you want to decide whether a trust is right for your situation and lack knowledge of the common legal verbiage involved, the following is a brief introduction to some key terms used to write trusts.


This is the person or group that assigns the property in a trust to the beneficiaries. The grantor is also commonly called the “trustor” or the “settler”.


The trustee is the individual, corporation, or combination of the two that manages a trust’s property. They must do this in line with the trust’s provisions. Trusts can simultaneously have several trustees. Plus, they often contain specific conditions for choosing successors to step in when an initial trustee quits, is eliminated or passes away.


The beneficiary is the person or group that gains benefit from the trust. In cases with several beneficiaries, it is not required that they all have identical interests in the trust. In fact, a beneficiary does not even need to have been born yet at the time of the trust’s creation.


The trust’s corpus, or principal, is the property that goes into the trust either at the time the text is generated or at some point after. The income produced within the trust that is not allocated may become part of the corpus, according to the stipulations of the trust. The corpus can include capital, stocks, real estate, or other property.


A trust’s situs establishes the precise laws that the trust must follow. Typically, the situs relates to the physical location of the grantor or the greater part of the corpus. The situs is a key factor to consider because it decides the laws, regulations, and taxes applicable to the trust.

If you wish to consult with a knowledgeable attorney about whether a trust is right for you, get in touch with Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today. We would love to talk about your situation and help make the process easier. Our highly experienced team can help you produce a trust that is set up properly plus meets all of your individual needs.

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