Experienced Rockford, Illinois Trust Estate Lawyers

A trust and estate lawyer is a legal professional with experience in estate planning, trust administration, and the probate process. Their primary role is to help individuals plan for the management and distribution of their assets during their lifetime and after their death. This work includes creating legal documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives ensuring that an individual’s wishes are honored and their assets are distributed according to their desires.

Key Responsibilities and Areas of Expertise for Trust and Estate Lawyers

These are some of the main responsibilities and activities of trust and estate lawyers.

  • Estate Planning: Advising clients on structuring their assets, and drafting wills and trusts to ensure assets are distributed according to the client’s wishes while minimizing estate taxes and other expenses.
  • Trust Administration: Assisting trustees in managing and distributing trust assets according to the trust document’s terms, providing legal advice on the trustee’s duties, and helping resolve any disputes that may arise among beneficiaries.
  • Probate Process: Guiding executors and beneficiaries through the probate process, which includes validating the will, inventorying the deceased’s assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
  • Estate and Gift Tax Planning: Helping clients develop strategies to minimize taxes on their estates and gifts, ensuring that more assets can be passed on to their heirs or chosen beneficiaries.
  • Guardianship: Assisting in establishing guardianships for minors or adults who are unable to manage their affairs due to age, illness, or disability.
  • Dispute Resolution: Representing clients in disputes over wills, trusts, guardianships, and the administration of estates, including litigation if necessary.

In summary, trust and estate lawyers work closely with their clients to understand their personal and financial situations and provide tailored advice to meet their specific needs. Their goal is to ensure that an individual’s estate is managed and distributed efficiently, legally, and according to their wishes, while also providing for the care and support of their loved ones.

Our Trust and Estate Planning Services

Our firm’s trust and estate planning services include the following.


Your will is the cornerstone of your estate plan, and it designates your beneficiaries, the executor of your estate, and the guardian of minor children, if any.

Revocable Living Trusts

This document is called a “living trust” because it becomes effective during your lifetime, as opposed to a will that takes effect after your passing.

Revocable living trusts have recently gained in popularity and for good reason. In many situations, a trust is a flexible and efficient tool for managing your property while you are still alive – including periods when you may be incapacitated – as well as managing and disposing of property after your death. Another advantage is that a living trust allows you to avoid probate on any property you own.

Tax Planning

Depending on the size of your estate, it may be subject to both federal and Illinois taxes. Our attorneys can work with you to determine your tax exposure and explain your options to maximize the inheritance received by your beneficiaries.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC)

This document is easily one of the most important you will ever sign. In your DPAHC, you designate an agent, as well as a successor agent, to make a variety of healthcare decisions for you in situations where you’re unable to make them yourself.

The naming of these individuals is crucial, and your choices should be very carefully considered. If you have not executed a DPAHC, the laws of Illinois will control the order of preference for family members making decisions on your behalf, and this situation can easily lead to family conflicts.

Living Will

Slightly different from a DPAHC, a living will indicates the life-sustaining medical care you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as other preferences such as pain management and organ donation.

Charitable Donations and Planning

Charitable giving can be used as a means to avoid income and estate taxes, as well as a means for continuing a special family legacy.

Gift Tax Planning

While gifting can be used as a means for estate reductions, there are strict IRS rules and regulations that must be followed. Hence, you should employ the services of experienced estate planning attorneys to avoid conflicts with the IRS.

Crosby & Crosby – Your Rockford Trust Estate Lawyers

Estate planning and administration is a key area of family law focus at Crosby & Crosby. Our estate planning lawyers are committed to supporting you and your heirs throughout the entire process, from the initial will or trust drafting to the final closure of the estate.

Moreover, if your estate plan was established years ago and your objectives have since evolved, we are ready to revisit your initial documents. Our team is here to collaborate with you to implement any necessary adjustments.

Regardless of your estate planning requirements, the Rockford estate planning attorneys at Crosby & Crosby stand ready to assist. We encourage you to reach out to our firm and schedule your complimentary initial consultation with our office.

At Crosby & Crosby, You’re Never Alone

We want you to know that first and foremost, we’re here to help you succeed and protect what you value most.

Top Probate Lawyer in Rockford

Questions? We Can Help!

Helpful questions about family law

How to choose the right divorce lawyer?

Choosing the right divorce lawyer, in our mind, comes down to three factors. First, is this lawyer going to be an aggressive advocate for me? Second, is this lawyer a person I can get along with personally? Third, do I trust this lawyer to communicate with me effectively? If you walk away from an initial consultation with a lawyer answering yes to those three questions, you have likely found the lawyer who is right for you.

Legal work can be extremely time consuming. Your expectations should not necessarily be that your lawyer is someone you can vent to about your personal life, as that would likely result in an unreasonably high bill. But you should expect your lawyer to keep you informed as to the status of your case. You should also expect your lawyer to listen to your wishes and concerns and use those thoughts as a basis for your case. You don’t need to talk to your lawyer everyday, but you should hear from them every other week or so.

Expect the unexpected when it comes to the Court dates. The Court system is based on a first-come-first-serve calendar, when the case is not filed as an emergency. All initial Court dates are determined by the Clerk of the Court, not of the lawyer or client. If you have a lawyer, expect the Judges to want your lawyer to do the talking, unless the Judge asks the client a question directly. You should also expect the Judge to keep the Courtroom as orderly as possible. Judges very much look down on people who speak out of turn. As for dress, the Court does not require a strict dress code, but it is always a good idea to dress professionally to show the Judge that you take the system and their Courtroom seriously.

There is a process in the law referred to as “discovery” that allows a party to a legal proceeding to discover information about the opposing party. In the context of a divorce, “discovery” is primarily used in the form of written questions and written requests for the opposing party to provide documents to the party that is doing the requesting. These are called “interrogatories” and “requests to produce.” During the process, the party answering the questions or requests must provide a written testimony, under oath, that the documents and answers are true and accurate. It is through this process of “discovery” that we are able to learn what assets a party possesses.

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