Your Estate Planning: Where There is a “Will,” There is a Way

your estate planning, Wheaton estate planning attorneyOne of the most important legal issues that people need to take care of is not one that the majority of us like to even think about—making a will. However, it is also the one legal issue that is always inevitable—no matter who you are.

Having a key plan in place can help to guarantee that your final wishes are carried out. It can also help prevent the infighting that often occurs in families when a loved one dies without a will in place. Even relatives with the most altruistic motives can find themselves locking horns over what Mom or Dad’s wishes would have been. Moreover, a will prevents a third entity—namely the state of Illinois—from making the determination of where your assets will go.

As difficult as it may be to sit down and begin making those decisions, there are ways to help make the process go smoother. Several key tips that legal advisors offer include the following:

  1. Make a list of your assets and then decide who will get what. The list should include all retirement and other bank accounts, insurance policies, stocks and bonds, real estate and vehicles. Your list of assets should also include furniture and appliances, jewelry and collections. Many people are now including a list of online assets they own in their wills. If there are items that are of sentimental value (more than monetary), a will is a good place to express who should receive these items.
  2. Decide who will be the executor of your estate. This is the person who will be responsible for ensuring that the wishes in your will are carried out. Additionally, this person will be responsible for paying any debts or claims against the estate, collecting any assets due the estate, and taking care of property of the estate.
  3. If you are a parent with young children, it is critical to name a person who you want to be the guardian in the event of your death. This person will be responsible for raising and caring your children, as well as overseeing the property and assets left to the children in your will.
  4. It is also recommended that you leave a note with your will which includes instructions for funeral arrangements, as well as a list of account numbers and important document locations.

Contact an Illinois Estate Planning Attorney

When sitting down to write out your final wishes, one of the most important steps you can take is consulting with an experienced Wheaton estate planning attorney. Contact the Illinois law office of Stock, Carlson, Flynn & McGrath, LLC at 630-665-2500 to discuss your options today.

Majority of Baby Boomers Ignore Estate Planning Needs

baby boomer, baby boomers, Wheaton estate planning attorney, health care proxy, living will, baby boomer generation, advance directives, end-of-life issues, estate planning needsSixty-four percent of baby boomers do not have a living will, health care proxy, or other advance directives that deal with end-of-life issues. These results were discovered via a survey conducted by the Associated Press (AP), in conjunction with LifeGoesStrong.com.

A health care proxy or health care power of attorney “allows an individual to select a person he or she trusts to make decisions about medical care.” Advance directives are critical documents to have in place because they clearly state a person’s medical choices. Both are essential to have in the event an illness or accident makes it impossible for an individual to articulate his or her wishes.

Of the 1,416 adults interviewed in the survey, 1,078 participants were from the baby boom generation. Members of the baby boom generation include those who were born between the years 1946 to 1964.

The majority of the surveyed participants felt there was not yet a need to make end-of-life plans because they considered themselves healthy. They also noted that middle-age is too young to be making these kinds of plans.

However, there is a misconception that this type of estate planning is only for individuals who are in their late 60’s and 70’s. Many in the medical and legal field point out that advance directives are important for adults to have in place despite age or health. Tragic accidents or illness can happen to anyone, at anytime, and if an individual has not taken the legal steps to ensure their wishes will be followed, it could lead to a long, drawn out legal battle between family members.

If you are a baby boomer and have yet to develop your estate plan, contact an experienced Wheaton estate planning attorney today to find out what options may be right for you and your family. However, regardless of your generation, estate planning is something everyone should consider. Call (630) 665-2500 today.

Challenges Facing Baby Boomers Illustrate Importance of Planning

Millions of baby boomers today are helping to care for aging parents. Whether it’s handling healthcare needs or helping with the day-to-day aspects of life, baby boomers are serving as the stopgap for older parents who might not have anticipated their needs in advance. The pressure put on baby boomers in this situation highlights the importance of proper estate planning.

Many people caring for an older parent are doing so while juggling responsibilities of their own, like working full time and taking care of immediate family members. Some have even put their own health care on hold in order to care for a parent in the short term.

While people often underestimate the cost of retirement and the assistance they might need during this period, some proper planning in advance could help to relieve the amount of responsibility falling on adult children.

A study from AARP in 2010 shows that the ratio of possible caregivers for every person in the high risk category of 80 years or older was 7 to 1. By the year 2030, that number is expected to drop as far as 4 to 1 due to longer life spans, smaller families, and increasing rates of disability.

Relying on friends and family members for care probably shouldn’t be the only approach towards retirement and old age planning.

Baby boomers are more likely than other generations to have disabilities later in life, possibly even impacting their ability to make decisions about their own care. Deciding to set an estate plan in place earlier on can give you peace of mind and ensure that no matter what happens in the future, you have some groundwork laid with your will, trusts, and other critical estate planning documents.

If you are prepared to get started with your own documents and planning, contact an Illinois estate planning attorney today.