One 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.