A new study by the Transamerica Institute found that only 24% of American workers have a retirement strategy – and only 33% of all workers say they have written down a plan for a secure retirement. The 21st Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers was released in November 2021. Yes, 59% of workers say that saving for their retirement is a priority. And if someone doesn’t have a retirement plan, they probably don’t have an estate plan either.
According to the 2021 Caring.com survey, only 42% of U.S. adults currently have estate planning documents such as a will or living trust. A retirement plan is essential to protect your financial future after you are no longer working. An estate plan is essential to protect your future if you become ill incapacitated, and the future of your loved ones after you pass away.
Not convinced? Here are some important reasons you need a will or trust.
A will or trust is an important part of your retirement strategy to secure your future and the future of your loved ones.
1. Saved Your Loved Ones Money, Time and Stress
If you die without a will, Illinois laws require that your estate goes through the probate court process — known as intestate administration — The intestate court process can be slow and expensive. Your family will not receive assets from your estate until the probate court settles your estate, which will take at minimum 6 months, and often much longer. This can be stressful, time-consuming and expensive for your family, and even lead to family discord.
2. Determine Who Will Care for Your Minor Children
If you become incapacitated or ill and cannot care for your minor children, who will take care of your children? If you do not designate a guardian, the courts will determine who can make the legal and physical custody and decision-making decisions about your children. You can designate a guardian for your minor children after your death in a will, but if you become temporarily ill, your will does not go into effect. An Illinois Short Term Guardianship can protect your family if you are temporarily unable to care for your child.
Creating or updating your will is the best way to protect your minor children, ensure that your wishes are known and followed and to make sure your family doesn’t have additional financial burdens if the unexpected happens.
3. Manage Your Digital Assets
Today nearly everyone uses technology and has online accounts. Digital assets – social media, online subscriptions, cyber currency, online shopping accounts, patents, trademarks, stocks – are an important part of your daily life and an important part of your estate plan!
4. Protect Your Pets
Pets are like family. If you become incapacitated or die, you will want to arrange for the short-term and long-term care of your pets. The Pet Trust Act (760 ILCS 5/15.2) is a legal document so that people in Illinois can create a trust for the benefit of one or more of their companion animals through their estate plans.
5. Provide Your Funeral Instructions
Often a will isn’t opened until after the deceased is buried. A letter of intent, given to your attorney, executor or a trusted friend or family member can explain to your loved ones what your final wishes are. It could include who your family should contact and how to contact them, any funeral arrangements already made and paid for, preferences regarding burial or cremation, a draft obituary or any other special requests that your family would need to know.
A meeting with a Probate, Trust & Estates Attorney can help you feel prepared for the unknown knowing that you have a plan in place. Though it may be tempting to put off, having a plan in place can help prevent serious issues down the road. Contact one of our lawyers today and schedule an appointment at 630-864-5835.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties