Estate Planning in Illinois

A Family Law and Estate Planning Firm Here to Serve You

Advance Directives & Guardianship

Estate planning is a complex and often intimidating concept to approach, but the importance cannot be stressed enough, and Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group is here to help you navigate the process. Estate planning is the process of using legal means to formally determine and document how your estate will be distributed upon your death. Regardless of how modest or extensive your estate is, you must decide how it will be eventually allocated.  

Your estate extends beyond your bank accounts, investments and bonds. It includes everything you own, such as your home, automobile, property, financial accounts, investments, life insurance, furniture and even your pets.

When you participate in estate planning, you create legally binding documents, such as wills and trusts, with instructions that ensure your wishes are carried out after your death or if you become unable to manage your affairs. It may also help prevent intervention in your affairs by a probate court.

Estate Planning Practices

Wills and Trusts

Power Of Attorney

Some estate planning addresses what will happen if you become incapacitated, rather than die. Powers of attorney specify who should care for your medical needs and financial matters if you become disabled in such a way that does not allow you to make decisions for yourself. 

It’s a difficult scenario to consider, but setting up a power of attorney lets you put someone you trust in charge of decisions related to your well-being. Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group can help you put that specification and plan in place.



Naming a guardian for your minor children might be one of the most important estate planning decisions you make. In the case of the death of both parents, a guardianship order names a person or people who now become the legal guardians. In the case of divorce and one person’s death, guardianship mostly defers to the living parent. However, some individuals choose to set up alternate guardianship if they feel their former spouse is an unsuitable parent. The court will ultimately take that into consideration. A guardianship may also be necessary for a disabled adult. For assistance in designating a guardian of the estate, please don’t hesitate to contact Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group.

What Are Wills and Trusts?

Estate planning involves legally binding documents including wills & trusts. These documents pertain to how things will be left and divided upon the owner’s death. 

The most commonly known estate planning document, a will details how you want your property to be divided when you die. It may also include details related to guardianship of minor children and the method of payment of debts and taxes you may owe. A will may be the single most important document you create to prepare for the future.

When you create a trust, you legally set aside specific property for someone that will be held until a later date. This could be money that is banked until a child turns 18 or an investment that gets turned over to a friend when it matures on a specified date. You can leave money to someone in your will, but a trust is its own legal entity that will help avoid probate.

What You Can Expect

We are aware that estate planning in Illinois can be highly complex and distressing, and no one wants to think about these things. But in untimely and tragic events, having a plan in place will make all the difference for your loved ones. Gwendolyn J. Sterk and the Family Law Group is here to help you every step of the way, ensuring that you leave everything as desired to whom you intend. 

Our approachable and skilled legal team also assists with other family law matters: 

  • Divorce 
  • Post-decree 
  • Adoption
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Orders of Protection
  • Wills & Trusts
  • Guardianship

We are here for you and will continue to be available throughout the legal process to address your wishes and concerns.

We also offer free remote consultations and provide services from a distance if necessary.

You contact us here, email our office at, or call 815-600-8950 and one of our team members will promptly assist you.

Begin Your Journey To Self-Healing

Sterk Family Law Group is a firm of experienced family law attorneys in Orland Park, IL. Contact us to schedule your free family law or estate planning consultation today!