Estate Planning

Top notch estate planning requires an attorney to listen to the client, ascertain the client’s objectives and concerns and design a plan that best meets those objectives and addresses those concerns using the most effective techniques. The estate planning attorney must draw on his or her experience in different areas of law including probate, business, tax and real estate. Life experience counts as well.

I am committed to bringing my experience to bear to assist individuals and families reach their objectives for their future. We understand that each family is unique and that estate planning is more than a set of instructions that tells the government who your property should go to after your death. Our estate planning process is designed to understand your unique situation and goals and create a plan to pass your wealth, wisdom and values to your loved ones in the most efficient way possible.

By working with our firm you can be confident that your estate plan will be current, take advantage of the latest planning opportunities, and address your goals using an approach that makes sense to you and a strategy that you can be confident in.

Once we listen and understand your goals, a typical estate plan includes a Revocable Living Trust, Pour Over Will, Powers of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directives to document our clients’ wishes.

Whether you are looking to create your estate plan for the first time or to update your existing plan, we can help you create your comprehensive and personalized estate plan, providing you peace of mind that your wishes will be followed. We invite you to contact us today to begin planning for your future.

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Click Below to View Frequently Asked Questions

Introductory Call

The first step towards creating your new estate plan begins when you contact our office. We find it best to introduce ourselves to one another via an introductory phone call (or Zoom meeting). This call provides an opportunity for you to let us know your general plans and/or goals. We can give you more background on our firm, explain our estate planning process, and address any preliminary questions you may have. You are invited to complete and forward to us our Estate Planning Questionnaire. (The Questionnaire may be downloaded from our website, sent out via email, or by U.S. Mail.)

Initial Consultation

After you have completed the Questionnaire and returned to us, the next step is to schedule an initial consultation. During this meeting we will discuss in detail your background, family, goals, concerns, as well as address any issues or questions identified in the Questionnaire. At the end of this meeting, a fee range will be quoted based on a preliminary plan design. An Engagement Letter which outlines the work we are to do and the quoted fee will be prepared for your review and signature.

Note: The Introductory Call and Initial Consultation may be combined into one meeting, depending on the facts, client objectives, and details provided in the Questionnaire ahead of time.


Once our office has received your signed Engagement Letter and initial deposit, we will be formally engaged as your estate plan attorney and we will begin designing your customized estate plan. Draft copies of your estate plan will be sent to you for review, typically by secure emails or client portal. Together, we will work through the details of the plan to finalize an estate plan that meets your goals and objectives, while addressing your concerns.

Signing & Funding

It is important that you understand your new estate plan and that it meets your needs. Before signing the finalized legal documents and implementing your new estate plan, we will go over any questions or concerns you may have about the documents and how they work. We will also provide you with instructions regarding taxes, beneficiary designation changes, real estate transfers, and other funding issues to ensure the planning is effective and works as designed. We are available to assist with funding as well.

After this meeting our office will promptly prepare a comprehensive Estate Plan Binder containing your important documents. Our office will contact you to advise when your Binder is ready for delivery.

Free 3-Year “Check-Up”

It is important to review your estate plan every few years. New legislation or life changes often occur that may affect your estate planning goals and objectives. In order to help ensure your personal estate plan continues to be effective, we offer our clients a complimentary 3-year check-up meeting. During this 30 minute in-person or phone meeting, we will discuss any changes to your family or estate and review the estate plan to determine what, if anything, needs updating.

Please note that the questionnaire must be saved to your computer before inputting your information into the fillable form. All content will be lost if the form is not saved first, then filled out.

Estate Planning Questionnaire


Many individuals are unsure what documents are needed when planning their estate. There are many options to consider when planning to pass their wealth to loved ones. For many in Illinois they have a specific goal of avoiding the expensive probate process when planning their estate.

In order to avoid probate, it is essential to use a revocable living trust as your primary estate planning document. It is important to note that even when planning with a revocable living trust, an Illinois estate plan must also contain a will.

Revocable living trusts are typically used by individuals who desire a more efficient transfer of property to loved ones. Revocable living trusts often contain:

  • Trustee instructions for your care during any period of disability
  • Instructions for distributing specific assets to designated individuals or charity upon your death
  • Creation of trusts for minor children, adult children, and surviving spouse
  • Tax planning for retirement assets, real estate and investment accounts

A particular kind of trust (commonly called a “Special Needs Trust”) may also be very useful in situations where an individual, such as a child or grandchild, has a disability. As long as specific provisions are drafted into the document, the assets transferred into the Special Needs Trust can be used to provide for the needs of your loved one while allowing them to maintain their governmental benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security and Medicaid.

Wills may also be useful to individuals who may not have a large estate but still want to make sure that their assets are distributed to loved ones the way they want. Parents may wish to use their Wills to select a guardian for their minor children as well.

A power of attorney is a legal document in which you grant someone else the authority to take actions on your behalf, such as signing your checks to pay your bills or selling a particular piece of real estate or even making healthcare decisions. Powers of attorney are a great way to make sure that your affairs will be properly taken care of no matter the circumstances.

A financial power of attorney is a legal document in which you grant another person the authority to act on your behalf if you are unable to manage your financial affairs. A financial power of attorney will give your trusted agent the ability to manage your checking account, pay your bills, manage your investment account and make your financial decisions.

A healthcare power of attorney is a legal document in which you grant another person the authority to act as your health care agent and make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so for yourself. Your agent is authorized to communicate with your doctors and makes medical decisions on your behalf.

A “health care directive,” sometimes called an “advance directive,” is a document that states an individual’s directions for making health care decisions if the individual is not able to make them himself or herself, e.g., if he or she is unconscious or in a coma. The main advance directives authorized under Illinois law are:  the powers of attorney for health care, living wills, and, Practitioner Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Forms.

The power of attorney for health care is a document under which an individual (the principal) names another individual as the principal’s agent and gives the agent the power to make health care decisions for the principal if the principal is not able to do so.  A power of attorney for health care also allows an individual to direct specific forms of medical treatment or the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.  It also allows the principal to direct how his or her remains should be handled (e.g. cremation) and whether he or she wishes to make anatomical gifts of his or her body parts (e.g. organs or tissue etc.) following his or her death.

A living will is a direction to the physician telling the physician not to use life-sustaining treatment if there is an incurable or irreversible disease and death is imminent.  It enables a competent individual to elect that no extraordinary medical measures be used in prolonging or maintaining his or her life. If the power of attorney for health care names an agent who is capable of making such decisions for the principal, a living will may not be necessary. However, the living will provides direct emphasis by the individual as to the extent of life – sustaining treatment he or she wishes to see employed in such dire circumstances.  Having the living will in place may provide the agent with some relief if and when he or she is put in the difficult position of having to make the important decision for the principal.

Another health care directive is the Practitioner Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Form, which must be cosigned by a physician.  The Form allows a patient to direct his or her treatment wishes into a recognized medical order that health care workers are required by law to honor. A POLST Form is appropriate for those whose death or mental incompetency is reasonably imminent and who are ready to make decisions about life-sustaining treatment in consultation with their physicians.  Completing and signing a POLST also relieves the agent under a power of attorney for health care from the burden of making those decisions. 

In Illinois, when an individual becomes incapacitated and has no Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care in place, the decision-making authority regarding the person’s health care is, by default, determined according to the Illinois Health Care Surrogate Act (755 ILCS 40/1 et seq.). This law sets out a hierarchy of individuals who are empowered to make health care decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person.

According to the Surrogate Act, the following individuals, in order of priority, are authorized to make health care decisions for an incapacitated adult, in the absence of a designated health care power of attorney:
1. The patient’s guardian of the person, if one has been appointed.
2. The patient’s spouse or civil union partner.
3. Any adult child of the patient.
4. Either parent of the patient.
5. Any adult brother or sister of the patient.
6. Any adult grandchild of the patient.
7. A close friend of the patient.

The patient’s guardian of the estate, if one has been appointed.

The Act provides that the decision-maker must act in accordance with the patient’s wishes, if known. If the patient’s wishes are not known, the decision-maker must act in the patient’s best interest. The Act also sets out certain standards and procedures that must be followed in making health care decisions.
This hierarchy is applicable only when the incapacitated individual has not designated someone to make health care decisions on their behalf through a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care or other advance directive.

Please contact us with your estate planning needs, including preparation of your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care!