There are many different types of estate plan documents that individuals in Illinois and elsewhere may want to consider using. A revocable living trust allows a person to retain control of assets while holding them outside of an estate. Holding assets outside of a trust may allow them to be transferred without having to go through probate. It may also minimize the amount of gift or estate taxes that beneficiaries owe after an individual passes.

Beneficiary designations may be another tool that a person can use in an effort to avoid probate. Generally speaking, a beneficiary becomes the new owner of a bank account, car or other item simply by proving that the current owner is deceased. It is important to understand that a beneficiary designation will take precedence over language in a will or other plan document. An estate plan may provide instructions as to how digital assets should be accounted for while setting a person’s affairs.

Digital assets may include social media accounts, pictures stored online or an email account. It is also important to account for business assets in a will, trust or other estate plan document. This is generally true whether a person owned the company outright or was part of an ownership group. Finally, individuals should make sure that executors or trustees can easily access bank or other financial accounts.

There are many assets that a person may need to account for when creating an estate plan as well as multiple decisions that a person needs to make when determining who should oversee those assets. An estate planning attorney may talk more about wills, trusts or other documents that could be used to craft an adequate plan. A legal professional may also review any documents that already exist.

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