Naperville Estate Planning Attorney Talks About Leaving an Inheritance to Non-Related Caregivers

The question of who gets a person’s assets when they pass away can be tricky, to say the least. Leaving an inheritance to children and grandchildren is usually the norm, but what happens when a person wishes to leave an inheritance to a caregiver? If you have a nurse, companion, home health aide, or personal attendant who is like a family member to you, it is understandable that you might want to include them in your estate plans. However, this can sometimes be a complicated undertaking.

Leaving Money to Non-Family Caretakers in Your Will or Trust

Sadly, elder financial abuse is a serious problem in the United States. Some caregivers have nearly unrestricted access to individuals who may have diminished mental capacity or be otherwise especially vulnerable. An unscrupulous caregiver may be able to exercise undue influence to gain financial advantage. In the past, disabled or elderly individuals have been tricked or even forced into including certain individuals—including caregivers—in their estate plans.

In order to help prevent this, Illinois lawmakers amended the Illinois Probate Act of 1975 in January of 2015. The amendment addresses non-related caregivers who are named in a will or trust. Under the updated law, any property transfer greater than $20,000 to a non-related caregiver is presumed to be fraudulent if it is challenged.

Make Sure Your Family Knows Your Plans in Advance

One of the best ways to ensure that your assets are disseminated according to your wishes upon your death is to be upfront about estate plans with family and friends. Many times, surviving family members do not know about the inheritance a caregiver is receiving until after their loved one has passed away. Understandably, this can seem suspicious.

Although it may be awkward, discussing your estate plans with your loved ones can help prevent this misunderstanding. Make sure your family understands that you are making inheritance choices on your own and are not being unduly influenced. Letting family and friends know your reasons for leaving assets to your caregiver can greatly reduce the likelihood of problems in the future. If you believe that your surviving family members may challenge the validity of your will or trust in probate court, make sure to contact an experienced estate planning attorney for help.

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

Call the experienced Naperville estate planning attorneys at The Gierach Law Firm for help with wills, trusts, advanced directives, powers of attorney, and more. Call 630-756-1160 to schedule a consultation today.

Sources:

Illinois Probate Act of 1975

Bankrate

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