I have no family and no heirs. Do I need an estate plan?
Even if you have no family, you probably have assets. Simply said, assets are your stuff – your things. Whether your things are important only to you or have value for others, you need an estate plan with a will or trust to tell the government what you want to be done with your assets after you die. If you die without a will, the state will use Illinois intestate laws to determine how your assets are distributed after your death.
If you have no family or loved ones to leave your assets to, but you don’t want your things to go to the state, you can leave your assets to a charity of your choice. The choice of charity is up to you. For example, you may want to donate your assets to:
• a university or school you attended or that is important to you
• a non-profit community organization that does charitable work you care about
• a medical facility or fundraising organization that works to cure an illness or condition that affected you
Even if you don’t have any children or heirs, your estate plan should include legal instructions on your medical wishes for your doctors and representatives to follow if you become ill or incapacitated
• An advanced medical directive is a legal document that informs your family and doctors how you want your medical and end-of-life care to be handled if you are unable to participate in your own decision-making.
• A Healthcare Power of Attorney or Healthcare Proxy is a durable power of attorney, a legal device that allows one person to indefinitely make decisions on behalf of another.
• A Medical Power Of Attorney designates an agent to make health care decisions, lasts indefinitely and the person granting the POA authority typically retains the power to revoke it.
If you have no heirs to whom you want to leave your things to after you die, an experienced estate planning lawyer can advise you on the best options to distribute your belongings and to help you create legal instructions if you become ill. To talk to a qualified attorney in Chicago or Lombard, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-864-5835.
We serve Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.