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Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog: Wills and Trusts are Still Necessary

  • By: Alan E. Sohn
  • Published: March 22, 2017

Due to the surprising victory of Donald Trump and the success of the Republican party in the November election, many people may have come to the conclusion that they can put their efforts at establishing or updating their estate plans further back on the back burner for the reason that Republican control of the executive branch and Congress will spell the death knell of the “death tax.”

A corollary to that belief is that it is no longer necessary to do any estate planning.

Wait a minute!! Don’t let the tail wag the dog!

One of the primary reasons to plan your estate is to ensure that your assets (even if less than $5.45M) will be enjoyed by persons of your choosing. In addition, if you care whether your minor children will be brought up by the sibling or parent whose values and lifestyle you support, rather than someone whose values are the antithesis of your own, should you and your spouse meet an untimely end while climbing Mount Everest, the only way to control that choice is to designate the person or persons of your choosing in your will.

Finally, if your spouse survives you and finds that he or she can fall in love with another person, and you want to provide enforceable directions to ensure that the assets you have left and that you intend to be enjoyed by your descendants will be protected and accessible only by or for the benefit of your children and their descendants, then a well-designed and drafted trust is a necessity.

One more thing – Illinois has not and is not expected to repeal its estate tax, which is 16% of all your assets having a value above $4 million.

Therefore, if you have been putting off making or updating your will and/or trust, and now think it is unnecessary, I suggest you think again.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss creating or updating your estate plan. Remember the tail will go up and down and side to side, uncontrollably, while the nose goes in the direction to which signals from the brain communicate.

Alan E. Sohn

Alan E. Sohn received his Juris Doctorate from the College of Law of the
University of Illinois. Mr. Sohn has been a partner in both large and
smaller law firms and for the past 21 years has been in private practice.