A Trust Only Seems To Bring More Questions.

That’s When We’ll Find Greater Clarity Together.

When your future wishes are accompanied by a variety of complexities and unique challenges, the conversation with your estate planning attorney at Miles & Gurney may shift to a trust.

What circumstances might those be?

  • Should you own out-of-state real estate, it may make sense to have a trust to potentially avoid probate in multiple states. Property placed in a trust doesn't go through the probate process but any property associated with a will usually does. This can save you time and expense.

  • If you have a large enough estate that you have to be concerned about estate taxes, then it can make sense to have a trust compared to a simple will. For someone who passes, the Illinois estate tax exemption takes effect at $4 million and as of 2018, the federal estate tax exemption takes effect for much larger estates – $11.2 million for an individual or $22.4 million for a couple.
  • If you worry about becoming incapacitated should you become incompetent, develop a disease such as Alzheimer’s or be in a coma for a prolonged period of time, you can establish a trust and designate an individual in your trust to take over as your trustee and manage your affairs for you. This person can step in and take over for you, but you can also lay out the rules for what they can and can't do while they're handling your affairs.

  • Asset protection – in certain circumstances, you may want to provide a child with an inheritance but on a controlled, well-managed basis to ensure that your assets do not fall into the hands of predatory creditors. For example, if a child has a gambling problem, you don’t want to see the whole of their inheritance going to debt collectors. Therefore, by establishing a trust over which they have no control over it, you can specify a trustee who will manage the trust and regularly pay for certain necessities for a child directly. This gives your child a pipeline of support they need without making them vulnerable to potential predators.

  • Privacy concerns - when you are seeking to preserve the privacy of assets you own, our attorneys can take those assets out of your personal name and put them in the name of the trust instead. The information within a trust remains private after you pass whereas a will becomes public record.

A trust is a very flexible document that can be used to accomplish a wide range of estate planning goals. However, they are generally more expensive to set up and often require a degree of ongoing maintenance that a will does not (without this maintenance, a person could be in a worse position than if they had never set up a trust at all).

That’s why turning to a highly experienced estate planning attorney like the ones on our team at Miles & Gurney can help you understand if a trust is the best route to pursue for your needs and if so, how to set it up properly for the long haul to avoid ongoing headaches as a result of its maintenance.



“What is a Special Needs Trust?”

When family members need to care for a child with a developmental disability, they may find that the government pays for most of that child’s daily needs, including their clothing, food, housing and medical care. If a special needs child receives a sudden inheritance outright, that child may no longer be eligible for assistance from the government. This can cause major problems.

That’s why a special needs trust can make a great deal of sense. Within this type of trust, a trustee is designated who will manage the funds for the child with special needs, providing them with the higher quality of life they deserve without impacting the child’s eligibility for government assistance at the same time.



  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Chicago Realtors
  • The Chicago Bar Association