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What Should I Include in My Illinois Estate Plan?

Posted on in Estate Planning

Orland Park estate planning lawyer

Preparing for your future is the best way to ensure that things go as planned in the legal department. No one can accurately predict what will happen; however, taking preventative measures is a good step in the right direction. Many put off creating an estate plan until they are older, thinking that they will have plenty of time to do it later in life. However, this places them at risk of losing everything in the event of an emergency. The future may be unpredictable, but with an experienced estate planning attorney’s help, you can make sure that all of your bases are covered.

The Basics of Estate Planning

An estate plan has many moving parts, all of which are unique to each person or family. Some individuals decide to complete only one of the following legal documents, while others have an attorney help create them all: 

  1. Will or Trust - In many cases, these two legal documents get grouped together, since they share some similarities; however, there are differences between the two. Both a will and a trust are documents that outline how a person would like his or her assets and properties to be distributed when he or she dies. To be executed, wills must go through court proceedings, making them public records. Trusts, on the other hand, are handled privately and become effective immediately after the trustmaker passes away. These documents are not reserved just for the wealthy; they should be considered by everyone.

  2. Durable Powers of Attorney (POA) - These types of documents name an individual who will act on a person's behalf when he or she is unable to do so. A POA allows the signer to still have a level of control over how matters will be handled if he or she becomes incapacitated. There are two types of Powers of Attorney. A Healthcare Power of Attorney addresses the medical care a person wants to receive, and it may include directions regarding the acceptance or prohibition of life-saving treatments such as the reliance on a breathing tube. A Power of Attorney for Property addresses decisions about a person's assets, income, and other financial matters. The individual named in the POA is legally obligated to follow the instructions given by the signer. 

  3. Beneficiary Forms - These forms are similar to a will or trust, designating beneficiaries for the signer’s financial accounts. These can include bank, retirement, and brokerage accounts in addition to life insurance policies. Beneficiary forms take precedence over what is included in the person’s will. This makes it crucial for these forms to be up-to-date if any decisions change.

  4. Letter of Intent - This letter is created to instruct the beneficiary on how the signer would like things to be completed. For instance, this letter can include information about what to do with a specific asset after a person dies, or it can provide details about what the signer would like his or her funeral to look like. 

Contact an Orland Park Wills and Trusts Attorney

Thinking about the future can be anxiety-inducing, and one of the best ways to mitigate this fear is to plan for the unexpected. Estate planning may not be the main priority for young people, but putting off protecting your future can cause you to lose everything. At Anderson and Associates, P.C., we understand that life happens fast, and we can help you be confident in a protected road ahead. Our attorneys work with our clients to create a plan with which they feel comfortable. If you are considering starting an estate plan, contact our Orland Park estate planning lawyers at 708-226-9904 for a free consultation.






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