Estate Planning

Whether you’re looking to create a comprehensive estate plan, establish trusts, draft wills, or navigate complex tax matters, our Illinois estate planning law firm is here to provide you with expert guidance and personalized solutions. With a legacy of excellence and a passion for serving our community, Lane Law Associates is your premier destination for all your estate planning needs.

Estate Planning Attorney - Evanston IL - Lane Law Associates

Estate Planning in Illinois

Estate planning in Illinois encompasses a range of legal and financial strategies to manage and distribute a person’s assets and affairs both during their lifetime and after their death. Some of the key areas of estate planning in Illinois include:


Estate Planning Attorney - Evanston IL - Lane Law AssociatesDrafting a will is a fundamental aspect of estate planning. It allows you to specify how your assets should be distributed upon your death and can designate guardians for minor children.


Creating trusts, such as revocable living trusts or irrevocable trusts, can provide more control over asset distribution, minimize estate taxes, and potentially avoid the probate process.

What is the difference between a Will and a Trust, click here.

Power of Attorney

Designating a financial and healthcare power of attorney allows you to appoint individuals to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so.

Advance Healthcare Directives

These documents, including living wills and healthcare proxies, outline your wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life decisions.

Beneficiary Designations

Estate Planning Attorney - Evanston IL - Lane Law AssociatesEnsuring that beneficiary designations on assets like life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and bank accounts are up-to-date and in alignment with your overall estate plan.


Appointing a guardian for minor children or disabled adults is important for their care and wellbeing in the event of your incapacity or death.

Estate Tax Planning

In Illinois, estate taxes may apply to estates exceeding a certain threshold. Estate tax planning aims to minimize tax liabilities through various strategies and exemptions.

Business Succession Planning

If you own a business, a well-thought-out plan is crucial to ensure a smooth transition of ownership and management in the event of your retirement or passing.

Charitable Giving

Estate Planning Attorney - Evanston IL - Lane Law AssociatesCharitable trusts or foundations can be established to support causes you care about while providing potential tax benefits.

Asset Protection

Implementing strategies to protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, and other potential threats.

Special Needs Planning

If you have a family member with special needs, creating a trust or plan to ensure their financial security and care is essential.

Estate Administration

After a person’s passing, their estate must be administered, which involves managing assets, paying debts, and distributing property according to the estate plan or state laws.

Digital Assets

Managing and transferring digital assets like online accounts, cryptocurrencies, and intellectual property.

Family Dynamics

Estate Planning Attorney - Evanston IL - Lane Law AssociatesAddressing unique family situations, such as second marriages, blended families, or estranged relatives, to avoid potential conflicts and ensure your wishes are carried out.

Estate Litigation

Resolving disputes or challenges related to the estate, wills, trusts, or beneficiary designations through legal proceedings when necessary.

Estate planning is highly personalized and should be tailored to your specific circumstances and goals. Consulting with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys can help you navigate these areas and create a comprehensive plan that meets your needs and complies with state laws.

Wills versus trusts

In Illinois, as in many other states, both wills and trusts are important estate planning tools, but they serve different purposes and have distinct characteristics. Here are the key differences between a will and a trust in Illinois:

Purpose and Function

Will: A will is a legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the appointment of guardians for minor children upon your death. It becomes effective only after your death and goes through the probate process in Illinois.

Trust: A trust, on the other hand, is a legal entity that can hold and manage your assets during your lifetime and can also dictate how those assets are distributed after your death or during your lifetime. Trusts can be used for various purposes, including avoiding probate, managing assets for minor or incapacitated beneficiaries, and minimizing estate taxes.


Will: In Illinois, a will typically must go through the probate process, which is a court-supervised process of validating the will, paying debts, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Probate can be time-consuming, costly, and public.

Trust: Assets held in a trust generally avoid probate, which means they can be distributed to beneficiaries more efficiently and with greater privacy. This is one of the primary advantages of using a trust.


Will: The probate process is a matter of public record, so the terms of your will and the details of your estate become public knowledge.

Trust: Trusts provide a higher level of privacy because they operate outside of the probate process, keeping the details of your assets and beneficiaries private.

Control and Flexibility

Will: A will provides instructions for asset distribution after your death, but it does not offer much control or flexibility during your lifetime. It cannot manage assets or provide for beneficiaries who may need ongoing support or protection.

Trust: Trusts offer greater control and flexibility. You can specify detailed instructions for how your assets are managed and distributed both during your lifetime and after your death. This can be particularly useful for managing assets for minor children, individuals with special needs, or in complex family situations.

Capacity to Manage Assets

Will: A will does not provide for the management of your assets if you become incapacitated during your lifetime. In such cases, a court-appointed guardian may be necessary.

Trust: A revocable living trust, in particular, can provide for the management of your assets if you become incapacitated, as you can appoint a successor trustee to take over without the need for court intervention.


Will: While creating a will is generally less expensive than establishing a trust, the costs associated with probate can offset some of those savings.

Trust: The upfront costs of setting up a trust may be higher, but the potential savings in probate costs and the benefits of avoiding probate can make it a cost-effective option for many individuals.

Ultimately, the choice between a will and a trust in Illinois depends on your individual circumstances, goals, and preferences. Many people choose to use both a will and a trust in their estate plans to cover different aspects of their estate planning needs. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney at Lane Law Associates can help you determine the best approach for your specific situation.

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