Are all the details of your Illinois estate plan private? Maybe.

Are you ever surprised or amazed by what you can find on the Internet? From viewing bizarre photos, to finding a school classmate to stumbling across products only the makers can explain: It seems there is no end to the information that Google and other search engines can provide.

For people interested in genealogy, online services can provide a vast wealth of information about family histories, births and deaths. The downside of such websites is that they allow easy access to a lot of personal information. For example, Ancestry.com has hundreds of years of wills - as well as Census, SSDI & Military records - available online.

While the popular family history research site is great for researchers, you should be aware that, after your death, your will becomes a public document and thus accessible online. In Illinois, wills are filed with the county circuit court, even if your estate doesn't have to go through probate, placing your will in the public domain. Fortunately, you have estate planning options, which can keep your final wishes private.

How to keep your private information private

A trust is not filed with any court or other government entity. In addition, last year, Illinois passed a new law creating a Certification of Trust form, which protects the details of your trust from financial institutions. This means that if you establish a trust, your private information is no longer accessible by the public. If you don't think you want or need a trust, think again.

Why you should set up a revocable living trust

There are a number of reasons you should have a trust. Trusts are easy to set up. As compared to wills, trusts are also a smarter way to manage your assets and to pass on money to those you love.

The lawyers at the Chicago law firm of Jill M. Metz & Associates, Attorneys at Law, prepare many types trusts for individuals, unmarried partners and couples throughout the state, with an emphasis on assisting members of the LGBT community. With the guidance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, a trust allows you to:

  • Appoint someone of your choosing to manage your financial and personal affairs if you become incapacitated
  • Ensure that your assets are distributed to your family members, loved ones and favorite charities as you wish
  • Streamline the probate process for your family
  • Eliminate or reduce your estate taxes
  • Help avoid family disputes and will contests

These are only a few reasons that a trust and other estate planning documents can benefit you and your family. Let an experienced attorney help you prepare for your future with a comprehensive estate plan.

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