Sugar Grove Will Preparation Lawyers

Kane County Attorneys Focusing on Wills and Estate Planning

A will can be an important tool used to ensure your final wishes are carried out after your death. But some sources report, however, that nearly half of Americans with children do not have a will directing how they would like their affairs handled after their death. A person who dies in Illinois without a valid will in place is said to die intestate. This means that the state of Illinois will decide (according to laws in place) how the person’s affairs and belongings (the person’s “estate,” in other words) are wrapped up and disposed of.

What Can a Will Do?

It can be helpful to think of a will as a set of instructions that tell another person what you want to happen after you die. These instructions tell someone – your “executor” or “administrator” – what to do about your assets and other property as well as how to handle any debts or expenses that may be outstanding at the time of your death like funeral expenses or medical expenses incurred just before you passed.

If you have minor children, a will can be particularly useful in that you can name an adult to act as your children’s guardian or caregiver in the event you pass. If you plan on leaving property to a minor child (such as your home or a family heirloom), an adult will need to be designated in order to receive property on the minor children’s behalf, since minor children cannot directly inherit property. (When a minor child turns 18, assuming there is no other restriction in the will, the now-adult child can receive the property outright.)

What Makes a Will Valid in Illinois?

Contrary to popular belief, not every written set of instructions qualifies as a will. In fact, a will must:

  • Be made by an individual over the age of 18 and of sound mind and memory;
  • Be made in writing; and
  • Signed by the maker and witnessed to by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries under the will (that is, two individuals who do not receive or inherit anything from the maker of the will).

The maker of a will can change or add additional provisions to his or her will at any time prior to his or her death, so long as he or she continues to be of sound mind and memory. There are specific statutory requirements in order for these changes to be valid.

Why You Need an Illinois Estate Planning Attorney

No two individuals’ circumstances are the same. That is why do-it-yourself kits are not an ideal solution for a person without a will. You need a knowledgeable Illinois estate planning attorney to carefully consider your unique situation and circumstances and help you craft an estate plan that ensures your final wishes are carried out. The experienced Kane County estate planning attorneys at White & Ekker, P.C. will work with you to create an estate plan that gives you and your family peace of mind. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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