Helping Clients Plan for the Future
- Will your assets go where you want them to go after you pass on?
- Will you receive proper care as you go through the aging process?
You can save your loved ones a lot of money and frustration by preparing in advance the management of your health care and property in the event you become disabled or pass away.
Please call our estate planning attorneys today at 773-878-4480 or contact our firm online. We will sit down to discuss your specific needs and develop a personalized plan to help you achieve your goals. We proudly serve estate clients throughout Illinois, including Edgewater, Andersonville, Uptown, Lakeview and throughout the Greater Chicago area in Cook County.
The lawyers at Jill M. Metz & Associates will evaluate your assets, liabilities and wishes in order to create a customized estate plan that meets your specific needs using the appropriate legal tools, including:
- Wills that transfer your property to selected beneficiaries upon your death
- Powers of attorney that appoint someone to manage your property and sign legal papers for you if you become incapacitated
- Powers of attorney to give authority to the person you want to make medical decisions on your behalf
- Trusts that provide for the care of minors or disabled persons, minimize taxes or protect against creditors
- Strategies to avoid probate that transfer property at death — insurance, gifts, joint ownership of property, bank accounts
- The ability of your loved ones to contact our office to assist with the administration or probate if needed to ensure the appropriate transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries upon your death
However, there is more to estate planning than the aforementioned services. We ensure that each client's long-range plans are addressed with his or her unique needs in mind, whether the needs are simple or highly complex. We provide advice on estate planning techniques that can be used not only upon death but also during your lifetime to enable property to pass to your intended beneficiaries in the most tax-efficient manner possible.
Advance preparation is very important as, without a plan, the state dictates who gets your property, who will be the administrator of your estate, who will be guardian of your children if your child's other legal parent has already died and who will be your guardian if you are disabled.
Durable Powers of Attorney
Jill M. Metz & Associates will create documents for you and your partner or spouse that will allow you to make vital decisions for each other in the event of serious illness. A durable power of attorney for health care ensures that you will be able to visit each other in the hospital, make health care decisions for each other if one of you is incapacitated, and be able to determine cremation or burial arrangements for each other. A durable power of attorney for property gives you access to each other's finances, lets you pay bills and write checks for each other, and even sell your real estate if necessary.
Domestic Partnership Agreements
For couples in committed relationships who choose not to enter into a marriage or civil union, there are still steps that can be taken to establish a couple's intentions for the treatment of their property. A domestic partnership agreement is a contract between the individuals in a relationship that creates rights and obligations about property matters. It lays out each partner's financial obligations and contributions toward jointly and separately owned property, from mutual funds and retirement accounts to your family home. Our attorneys can also advise you on how to properly title your assets to best achieve your and your partner's life goals.
If your partner is ill or hospitalized, a domestic partnership agreement can help you gain access to your mutual home and property, and protects you from those who would accuse you of theft of these assets.
Domestic partnership agreements can be instrumental in the protection of each person's property interests should you and your partner choose to separate and end your relationship.
Neither a domestic partnership recorded with an employer or county office nor a domestic partnership agreement gives you the tax status of a married or civil union couple.
If you are in an Illinois Civil Union or in a civil union in another state or country, the Illinois Department of Revenue requires that you file jointly for your state tax returns; however, you must still file individually for your federal tax returns.
If you are in an Illinois marriage or in a marriage in another state or county, then you must file your federal and state taxes jointly. You can always file jointly as "married, but separated" if that is what your accountant advises.
We work with experienced tax professionals to assist you with complicated issues that are present in your estate plan.
Updating Your Estate Plan
It is important to review your estate documents periodically. Estate planning documents that were validly executed many years ago may possibly still be valid today from a technical standpoint but may no longer achieve your current goals. Your plan should be reviewed based on subsequent life events or changes in the law. Some of the events that may trigger the need for a review and update of your plan include, but are not limited to:
- Your asset mix or net worth has changed
- Tax or other changes in the law
- You want to change fiduciaries (trustee, executor, guardian, agent)
- Health changes for you or your beneficiaries
- The circumstances of your beneficiaries have changed (beneficiary has become disabled, entered into a civil union or marriage, has become separated or divorced, has creditor problems, substance abuse, etc.)
- A birth, adoption or death in your family or among your beneficiaries
- You get enter into a marriage or civil union
- You get separated or divorced
- You have a partnership agreement but are no longer with your partner
- You have recently moved from one state or country to another
- Your minor children or grandchildren have become adults
Proudly Serving the LGBTQ Community
We pride ourselves on providing effective legal services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and couples. The people we serve know that we are true professionals who have their best interests in mind at all times. We care deeply about our clients, and we work diligently to protect their rights and interests. We are highly adept at complex financial matters that can significantly impact our clients' futures.
Contact an LGBTQ Estate Planning Attorney
Contact us online or at 773-878-4480 to schedule an initial estate planning consultation to discuss and evaluate your estate planning needs.
We charge a flat fee for the evaluation of your estate needs, preparation and execution of your estate planning documents, assistance with retitling of assets, and preparation of beneficiary designations. The flat fee is determined based on the complexity of your needs during the initial consultation.
We also are able to review your existing estate plan, assets and current documents in order to give you a recommendation as to what updates are needed.
Serving the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community and Friends in Chicago and Illinois.