Estate & Probate


At Vis Law, we provide personalized and attentive care to meet your estate planning needs. No two estate plans are exactly alike, and our firm will tailor yours to meet your needs with caution and understanding.

It’s never too early to have a plan for your estate and assets – the route you take in your estate plan has financial consequences. One of the common questions our firm receives is, “What’s the difference between and a trust and a will – and which one is right for me?” There are advantages and disadvantages of having a trust as opposed to a will, but there can also be benefits in adding names to particular assets, whether they are real estate properties or bank accounts.

The important staple estate planning documents include at least:

  • A will or trust that will explain how your assets are distributed and name your executor.
  • A financial durable power of attorney, to name someone to take care of your finances if necessary.
  • A health care durable power of attorney, to name someone to ensure your health care wishes are honored.
  • A living will, known in Illinois as a declaration, to set out your end-of-life wishes.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that controls the distribution of your assets and may also appoint guardians for minor children after your death. A will commonly include:

  • A designation of your executor, who is charged with carrying out the provisions of your will.
  • A designation of your beneficiaries, who will inherit your assets.
  • Instructions for how and when your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries.
  • A designation of guardians for your minor children.

What is an Estate?

An estate represents a valuation of all your assets. Your assets would include things such as your net worth, including everything of value that you own, such as your physical and intangible assets like your land, home, furnishing, investments, collectibles, and accumulated work benefits, such as company stock or 401Ks. Your estate includes everything that will be distributed to your beneficiaries.

We also realize that an estate plan is not just a will or trust. We offer an estate planning package that includes a will or trust, living will, durable power of attorney, and an appointment of a health care representative. Each document serves a specific purpose and is essential to protecting yourself and your loved ones.

What can you expect during the estate planning process? For starters, we’ll schedule an initial, in-person consultation where Attorney Vis will first hear from you about any unique concerns you may have as well as go over a standard questionnaire. From there, he and his team will prepare a draft, and then schedule a follow-up appointment to review and finalize your plan together.


When a close loved one passes away, quite often it’s an overwhelming time, and handling posthumous affairs quickly adds to an already overburdened situation. Probate is the process through which elements of an estate are considered in court. Most estate advisors prioritize avoiding probate. Probate is a post-death court proceeding that authorizes your executor to pay your bills and transfer your assets to the people who are judged to inherit them through any number of estate mechanisms. Unfortunately, probate is commonly time-consuming and expensive. On the other hand, probate can be avoided with other estate mechanisms, such as a living trust, as long as you set up these mechanisms during your lifetime. After your death, your family won’t be able to avoid probate.

The main issues handled in probate court are determining whether or not a will is valid and distributing the deceased person’s assets to their heirs and beneficiaries. We can help you understand the complexities of probate law and will go through the process with you to ensure your loved one’s estate is handled according to their wishes.

Sometimes, individuals die without a will (this is also known as dying “intestate”), and a probate court will determine who is responsible for his/her estate and how property will be handled.

Has a loved one passed away? Have questions and seeking guidance on the probate process?  Click below or call, to schedule an appointment, so that we can assist you and your family, to handle probate and trust affairs.