Wills Attorney Elgin IL – Law Offices of Anthony R. Scifo – Call 847-628-8311
Wills Attorney Elgin IL
The creation of a will is a task that, understandably, most people do not look forward to doing. Even though it is essential to plan what shall happen with your assets and property after you pass, you might still be hesitant to tackle the subject. It’s common for people to tell their Wills Attorney Elgin IL that they intend to plan but aren’t yet ready to make what may be difficult decisions. However, with some basic preparation and fundamental information, you’ll be able to draft a will that provides peace of mind knowing you will be leaving your estate in capable hands.
Keep reading this post to learn about making a will, how a Wills Attorney Elgin IL can help you and which considerations you’ll need to make during the process.
What Does a Will Consist of and Accomplish?
A will is a type of legal document which provides instructions about distribution of your property after you die. In order to transfer the property that you list in your will to the people you want to receive it, a court must validate your will through a procedure known as probate. A will is what enables you to appoint someone to serve as an executor and – in the state of Illinois – as a guardian for your children. The executor is who fulfills the financial instructions in your will. The guardian is who you appoint to care for your minor-age children after your death.
As you start to consider the terms of your will and to consult with a Wills Attorney Elgin IL it will be useful to become familiar with some of the jargon. A few basic definitions to know include:
-Testator. The individual who is creating a will.
-Codicil: An amendment (change) to a will.
–Probate. This is the actual process of accepting a will as a valid, legal document in court.
-Decedent. The person who has passed away.
-Probate assets. This term relates to any properties that are owned individually by the testator.
-Legatees. Beneficiaries to whom the testator decides to leave assets to in their will.
-Bequests. Gifts given to legatees.
-Intestate heirs. The people who will receive probate assets if you die without having a will in place.
-Notary. An individual who is licensed by the state of Illinois to provide authentication of signatures on legal documentation.
Consult with a Wills Attorney Elgin IL at 847-628-8311.
Dying Without a Will in the State of Illinois – What Happens?
When someone passes away without a will, an Illinois court will name a personal representative of the deceased’s estate. Generally, the representative has duties that are similar to that of an executor. Furthermore, the court determines how your assets will be distributed in accordance to state laws regarding intestacy. If the deceased person has children or other dependents, the court will typically name someone to serve as a guardian for them.
In the event a judge disperses your assets following your death, the courts do not delve into the particular circumstances of your familial history or attempt to determine whom you might have intended to receive assets. The court simply divides the assets in compliance with your will (if you did have one) or to your closest surviving relatives, if you did not create a will. In the absence of a valid will, the distribution of your assets and surviving dependents rests with the court, which are governed by statutes.
If you do not have a will at the time of your death, 50 percent of your estate will go to your spouse, with the other 50 percent dividing equally among your surviving descendants. If your spouse is deceased, the court disperses your estate to your descendants. Likewise, in the event you do not have any descendants, your whole estate goes to your spouse.
If you do not have a surviving spouse or any surviving descendants, the court divides your assets and distributes them to other relatives beginning with your siblings and parents. If they, too, are deceased or you have no siblings, the state’s intestacy laws regarding descendants and distribution consult a listing of relatives to award your estate to. This could include relatives with whom you do not communicate or share a relationship.
The best way for preventing a court from determining what happens to your hard-earned assets is to contact a Wills Attorney Elgin IL and write a will.
The Legal Requirements of a Will in Illinois
To create a will that is valid legally in the Land of Lincoln, you must be a minimum of 18 years old and be of “sound mind.” That essentially means you must be capable of understanding:
-The assets that you individually own and to whom you want to distribute them to after your death.
-That your will’s purpose is to dispense assets after you die, name a trusted individual as executor to fulfill that task and, if you have dependent children, to name a guardian.
To be valid, your will has to be a written document, contain your signature and also the signatures of 2 credible witnesses. Talk to your Wills Attorney Elgin IL for additional information.
State law does not mandate that wills must be notarized. The best way, however, to ensure an efficient probate period and avoid the need for your witnesses to testify in a court is for you as well as your witnesses to sign an affidavit in front of a notary.
How to Draft a Will – Wills Attorney Elgin IL
The components of a will are:
-An introduction. The title of a will is simply “The Last Will of” followed by your full legal name. In the initial sentence of the document, state your name and then declare that you’re of sound mind and memory. Also, you’ll need to restate that it is your “last will and testament” and it serves to revoke any wills or codicils you’ve made before.
-Name someone to serve as the executor. After you have established your identity and stated the document contains your final wishes, the next step is selecting an executor. Because fulfilling the instructions of a will and ensuring your estate remains in good order is a significant responsibility, choose someone you know and trust for the role.
The executor’s responsibilities include:
-Presenting your will in probate court.
-Protecting your estate’s assets from mismanagement.
-Locate and dispense your estate’s assets to your named beneficiaries.
-Pay your estate’s remaining taxes and debts.
-Make your funeral arrangements using the funds in your estate.
Before you name the executor, note that if the executor commits any mismanagement of your estate and, as a result, your beneficiaries end up receiving less than they would have received otherwise if the executor carried out the task properly, the executor could be held liable. Ask your Wills Attorney Elgin IL for further guidance on naming an executor.
-Identify your heirs and beneficiaries. Heirs are blood relatives who are in line to receive a part of your estate according to intestacy laws. Yet, they don’t have to necessarily be your legatees. Your spouse is considered by Illinois law as an intestate heir.
Beneficiaries are the parties who shall receive the probate estate. Your heirs might not be the same people you identify as beneficiaries, which is why it’s important to clarify that in the will. When you name people in each of those categories, it helps ensure your executor will distribute assets according to your instructions. Consult with your Wills Attorney Elgin IL to learn more about the distinction between heirs and beneficiaries.
-Nominate an individual to serve as guardian to your minor children or other dependents. Selecting a guardian is among the most critical decisions you will make during the will drafting process. After you die, it’s the guardian who decides where your children reside, attend school and make other decisions you, as the parent, would make.
Free Consultation with a Wills Attorney Elgin IL – Call 847-628-8311
-Assess and then divide your properties. Based upon the terms contained in your will, it might need to describe assets by category such as:
-Bank, retirement and investment accounts.
-Stocks and bonds.
After outlining the assets of your estate, the will should direct percentages, cash or other items to the beneficiaries. For instance, you may give tangible items like family heirlooms and jewelry. Your Wills Attorney Elgin IL can provide useful guidance for creating this section of the document.
-If you have particular instructions regarding a funeral, state them next. Provide instructions on how you wish for the funeral home along with your loved ones to handle caring for your remains. If you want to have a funeral or memorial service, state it in the will with instructions on what you’d like to occur at the event.
-Sign the document and have it notarized. Although it may sound fairly simple to complete these basic steps, it can be challenging to do so without the help of a Wills Attorney Elgin IL.