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What is Estate Planning in a Divorce?
Estate planning, either by will, trust or other instrument, generally means giving what the client has, to a person or entity of the client’s choice, the timing of which the client would control, the manner of disposition the client would control and making arrangements for distribution pursuant to the instructions of the client. Strategic estate planning can preserve family relationships, provide for asset protection concerning third parties, attempt to avoid disputes or contests regarding estate administration or trust administration and can reduce certain taxes, fees and expenses. Those clients that may have a greater need for estate planning may include situations where there is a high net worth, or where clients are in a high risk profession, or clients that may own a business, or clients who live in a nontraditional or blended family, or clients that own commercial real estate or investment real estate, or clients that have loved ones with special needs, or clients that have minor children or clients who have favorite charities.
In dividing property, the Illinois court considers all relevant factors including the contribution of each party to the value of the property, particularly the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker, the value of the property distributed to each spouse, the length of the marriage, the financial situation of each spouse when the property is divided, (such as the need to give the family home to the spouse who has custody of the children), any obligations and rights arising from a prior marriage of either party, the age, health, station, occupation, income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each of the parties, the custody of any children, and the reasonable opportunity of each spouse for future acquisition of capital assets and income.
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