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5 Important Considerations When Making or Reviewing a Will

 Posted on September 24, 2023 in Estate Planning

Untitled---2023-11-09T154925.851.jpgA will is a legal document for estate planning that states how you want your property to be distributed after you die. It is important to have a will, even if you think you do not have much property worth distributing. Without a will, the state of Illinois will decide how your property is distributed, according to its laws of intestate succession. This may not be the way you would want your property to be distributed.

Estate planning can be daunting. Thinking about death is not something one would normally choose to do. For assistance with your will, an experienced estate planning attorney is worth consulting. An attorney can help you understand your options and create a will that meets your specific needs.

Who Do You Want to Receive Your Property?

This is the most important consideration in making a will. You can leave your property to your spouse, children, other relatives, or any combination of these. It is important to note that you are not limited to leaving property to your immediate family. You can leave property to anyone you want, including friends, charities, or even pets. However, it is equally important to be realistic about how much property you can afford to leave to others.

Who Do You Want to Be the Executor of Your Will?

The executor is the person who will be responsible for carrying out the instructions in your will. This includes gathering your assets, paying your debts and taxes, and distributing your property to your beneficiaries.

Who Do You Want to Be the Guardian of Your Minor Children?

If you are a parent of minor children, you need to name a guardian in your will. The guardian will be responsible for raising your children if you die before they reach the age of majority (18 years old). In Illinois, a guardian must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older

  • Be of sound mind and not legally disabled

  • Reside in and be a citizen of the United States

  • Not have been convicted of a felony where a child was harmed or threatened

What Do You Want to Do With Any Special Assets?

Special assets, such as a business, a vacation home, or a collection of valuable items, require a decision on how you want them to be distributed after you die. Should you die without a will, your assets are distributed to your closest relatives under Illinois’ intestate succession laws. Who receives what all depends on which relatives are still living when you die.

Dying with children and no spouse results in your children inheriting everything. A spouse with no children? Then your spouse receives it all. If you have children and a spouse, the assets are split evenly among them in a 50-50 split of spouse and descendants. If you are without either, your parents will inherit the assets. Any siblings still living will receive a share along with your parents. The split will depend on how many parents are living. If only one parent remains, then they will receive a double share with the rest being split among your siblings.

Do You Want to Create a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to manage your assets and distribute them to your beneficiaries after you die. Trusts can be used for a variety of purposes, such as providing for minor children, protecting disabled beneficiaries, or minimizing estate taxes.

Contact a Geneva, IL Estate Planning Attorney

Everyone should have a will to safeguard assets and loved ones' futures in the unfortunate event of their passing. At Serrano Hanson, we understand that estate planning can be a difficult task, especially for those unfamiliar with it. To help clarify your wishes, we can help draft appropriate, legally enforceable documents. You should contact one of our Kane County, IL will, trust, and estate attorneys at 630-844-8781 for an overview of your options.

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