We all know we should have a will, but we might not all have one. In fact, according to a poll by Gallup, less than half of all Americans have a written will or estate plan. Not having a will can cause your family to endure years of fighting and unnecessary expenses to settle your estate. That is what happened to the family of Aretha Franklin, she had 2 handwritten wills, and it took 5 years and a jury to determine her valid heirs.
The hardest part of beginning a will or estate plan is getting started. Once you have the appointment with an estate planning attorney, the rest gets easier. But there is more to an estate plan than just a will or trust.
An estate plan may include the following:
A power of attorney allows you to give the authority to another person to act on your behalf. And a healthcare directive tells the doctors and your family your medical wishes if you become incapacitated.
But let’s look at what happens if you pass away and don’t have a will or trust.
Passing away without a will or trust in place (dying intestate) may cause your family much undo hardship. It could lead to family fights, take years to settle, and cost high court fees. This is unnecessary if you have a proper will in place and update it when necessary.
While, in Aretha Franklin’s case, the courts ruled that the most recent handwritten will was effective – we most certainly do not recommend that. And as you saw, it took the courts 5 years to determine the authenticity of her final wishes.
Do not do this to your loved ones.
Once you take the first step and set an appointment with an experienced estate planning attorney, we will help you establish the best estate plan for you. We will learn about your unique situation and help you build an estate plan that will care for you in the future and your loved ones after you are gone.
An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you write your will and protect your assets. To talk to a qualified attorney in the Chicago area, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
Areas We Serve: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.