Breaking down the basics of a Simple Will Plan, and why it is important to have a plan to avoid disastrous situations for your family after death.
Do you have an estate plan in place? If you don't, have you ever thought about what might happen to your assets when you pass away? If you haven't done any planning, you can rest assured - the State of Illinois has and they have their own plan in place for you! The bad news is, you may not like their plan for YOUR estate.
Choosing Beneficiaries: One of the main purposes of a will is to allow the person creating the will (the Testator) to choose who to leave their assets and specific property to after death. Naming beneficiaries is a very important part of one's estate plan because it will determine who receives the testator's assets after the testator's death. No will = No named beneficiaries. This could be very disastrous for a family.
For example, did you know if you are married at the time of your death, but have no will, trust, or other estate plan in place, the State says your spouse will be entitled to ONLY 50% of your assets, while the other 50% would go to your children to split. That could be disastrous to a family with young children, as it would block the surviving spouse from having access to 50% of your assets, without costly court involvement. With a simple will in place, situations like this could very well be avoided.
Specific Bequests: Have any special items of personal property (i.e. jewelry, collectable items, valuables, etc.)? Want to leave money to a certain family member? Do YOU want to choose who receives these items after your death? A will can help better allocate items of personal property to specific persons of your choosing, allowing your wishes of your property to be carried out after death.
Naming an Executor: Lastly, by having a will, one can CHOOSE their Executor, the person who will have CONTROL over their property and assets after death. Without a will? The COURT will make this decision for YOU. Further, you can name a successor executor, or alternate, who will become the executor in the event that the initial executor fails or refuses to act in such capacity.
Assigning a Guardian For a Minor: With a will, you can name a person who will be responsible to care for your child(ren) if you and your spouse die before the child reaches 18 years of age. You can also name a guardian - who may or may not be the same person - to take charge of managing the assets inherited by a minor child(ren) until he/she is 18 years old. No will? The Court will ultimately make this guardian decision for you... and no one wants that.
We can help you avoid situations such as these. We offer free consults, often same day. Call (630) 906-0144 for an appointment to see one of our experienced attorneys. They will guide you in setting up a new estate plan, or review your current plan to ensure it covers all of your needs.