Estate Planning & Asset Protection
Long-term security, peace of mind
With the largest collaborative estate planning group in Chicago, we have the customized solutions you need to avoid probate, protect assets, minimize estate tax, maximize wealth transfer and leave a legacy for loved ones and charitable organizations.
Regardless of the size of your net worth, we can help. Our attorneys have extensive experience drafting estate planning documents from the basic to the complex, always with a focus on achieving your business and personal planning goals. We collaborate closely with clients, so we are right there with you to create, develop and implement integrated and individualized estate plans and asset protection plans. In addition, our broad experience in corporate and tax law allows us to develop innovative succession plans for business owners. Whatever your needs may be, we can help you protect and manage your assets more effectively during your life and after death.
Estate Planning & Asset Protection Services
To avoid probate in Illinois, the fair market value of your estate must be less than $100,000. In other states, the threshold is even less. Generally, a will alone does not avoid probate. Therefore, a trust also makes sense for most people considering estate planning.
A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, complements a will by managing assets during both a client’s lifetime and after death. Under such a trust, clients identify the beneficiaries of their assets in a private, secure manner.
Because assets owned by a revocable trust are not subject to probate, they are generally not subject to court-supervised distribution. Our Estate Planning & Asset Protection Group works to ensure that clients properly title their assets to avoid unnecessary court involvement and expense, and to provide asset protection for beneficiaries. Furthermore, by using a revocable trust, we leverage estate tax laws to minimize the amount of state and federal estate and other death tax liabilities.
Eighty percent of businesses that end up in probate due to poor planning fail in the first 8-12 months after the death of a key owner. We help clients beat these odds by planning ahead, ensuring that their businesses provide liquidity for their families, rather than instability.
Understanding and balancing the goals and needs of family members. Whether the intent is to keep a business in the family for the next generation or sell it to an outside investor, we help clients evaluate their options and develop business succession plans.
We balance the needs of active and passive family members by creating buy-sell agreements that enable the active family members to acquire the interests of passive family members (or other shareholders). We create effective exit strategies, negotiate and draft the agreements, assess valuation issues and minimize overall tax consequences to the family.
In addition to a carefully crafted buy-sell agreement, we use outright transfers and transfers in trust for the benefit of descendants, as well as other more complex techniques such as:
- Spousal lifetime access trusts (SLATs)
- Installment sales to intentionally defective grantor trusts
- Installment notes
- Private annuities
- Self-canceling installment notes
- Life insurance trusts
Producing significant savings of gift and estate taxes.Both the federal gift tax and estate tax rates are upwards of 40%, and Illinois imposes a separate estate tax at the state level. Chuhak & Tecson’s Estate Planning & Asset Protection Group assists clients in maximizing all available exemptions and utilizing all available exclusions to limit estate, gift and inheritance taxes at both the federal and state levels.
We harness additional tax savings by using techniques to take advantage of discounting principles, including:
- Recapitalizations of business interests
- Family limited liability company
- Family limited partnerships
In addition, we handle the preparation and filing of estate and gift tax returns, to ensure that our clients realize all available estate-planning benefits upon submission of tax returns.
Helping to keep clients’ dreams and legacies alive. Making a difference and passing the charitable and philanthropic torch to future generations are important goals for our clients. We bring extensive experience and creativity in helping them realize these goals. Planning for the charitable, religious, civic and social causes that mean so much to them, we work to ensure our clients meet their charitable and philanthropic objectives by utilizing techniques that maximize both income and estate tax savings.
We also help clients implement charitable and philanthropic plans that help mentor younger generations in the art of giving. We provide legal advice in a variety of gifting techniques, including:
- Public 501(c)(3) organizations
- Private foundations
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Charitable lead trusts
- Charitable gift annuities
- Supporting organizations
- Donor-advised funds
Seamlessly integrating an asset protection structure with a client’s estate plan. More and more professionals – including corporate officers, business owners, physicians, real estate investors, entrepreneurs and high net worth individuals – are looking to insulate their assets from liability. Our Estate Planning & Asset Protection lawyers conduct an in-depth analysis of clients’ personal and professional asset portfolios and make recommendations on how they can reorganize ownership to maximize protection and utility.
Each situation is unique and requires a customized approach to best achieve protection in light of the client’s opportunities and potential liabilities. Based upon a client’s asset portfolio, we may recommend a limited liability company, a limited partnership or other vehicles. We make recommendations on where entities should be sitused (i.e. formed), based on the nature of the business, income tax planning considerations and asset protection concerns. In addition, where an asset protection structure also provides estate-planning benefits, we work to integrate it within the client’s estate plan.
Putting in place the tools to address life’s most difficult situations. In addition to drafting wills, which provide the overall structure to an estate plan, we advise clients to put in place the following powers of attorney:
Property power of attorney. Also called a durable general power of attorney, this tool is essential when, due to age, illness or injury, a person is unable to carry on their legal and financial affairs. It authorizes an agent to act on a person’s behalf and sign their name to property and legal documents.
Healthcare power of attorney. Also called a medical power of attorney or an advance medical directive, this document designates a “medical agent” who will have access to medical information and the power to make decisions with respect to a person’s medical care in the event they are physically or mentally unable to do so.
Explore Other Practices
The challenges and pressures of running a successful business of any size never stop, nor do you. We understand your world because we work with leaders like you, often as outside general counsel. Legal issues can make the challenges more daunting to manage and distract you from what you do best. That’s why we are right there with you to focus on what really matters, clarify the complex, solve problems efficiently and turn legal counsel into business advantage.
Elder law attorneys define their work not by the type of legal problems they handle, but by the people they help. Chuhak & Tecson’s Elder Law attorneys work with older people, people with disabilities, and their families to prevent, address and solve problems associated with aging, long-term care and financial issues.
Estate & Trust Administration & Litigation
Our attorneys appear daily in the probate courts. Representing beneficiaries, executors, trustees and institutional clients, we administer estates and litigate disputes involving wills, trusts and guardianship estates. We provide counsel on all types of probate and the administration of guardianship and decedent estates and trusts, and advise on the tax ramifications involved in estates and trusts.
When litigation becomes necessary, clients need to know they are in the hands of experienced professionals committed to achieving the best possible outcome in every situation. With our extensive experience before state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as administrative bodies, Chuhak & Tecson litigators are right there with you – bringing the skills and knowledge necessary to identify and pursue the most efficient path to successful resolution and achievement of client objectives.
When it comes to real estate, Chuhak & Tecson attorneys enjoy a solid reputation for excellence built on decades of experience serving a broad base of Illinois clients ranging from buyers and sellers to landlords, tenants, lenders, developers, architects, space and land planners, building contractors, real estate brokers and syndicates, owners of historic structures and condominium and homeowner associations.