Single women have unique estate planning concerns, and single female boomers have additional concerns about protecting their future and their assets. The US Census Bureau reports almost 50% of US adults are single, and that almost 50% of women aged 65 and older are “unpartnered.” Single women over the age of 65 often have assets they want to protect and preserve for the next generation. If you do
1. What happens if I die without a will or other estate plan in place?
If you die without a will in Illinois, your assets will be transferred according to the state’s “intestate succession” laws. Who inherits what will depend on whether or not you have a living spouse, children, parents, or other close relatives when you die. Intestacy laws divide a person’s property based on the family relationships that are in existence at the time of their death.
2. Is it better to make a will or a trust? What’s the difference?
There are different benefits of creating a trust versus a will. Your estate plan can include both a will and one or more trusts. The guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney will be essential to make sure your wishes are properly documented.
3. What if I need long term care? Do I have to spend all my assets to qualify for Medicaid?
Medicaid planning is a part of estate planning. To qualify for Medicaid benefits in Illinois, your assets cannot exceed a certain amount and the asset amount depends on certain factors. There are estate planning legal strategies so that you can qualify for Medicaid if you need long-term care, and preserve your assets for your spouse and heirs. A Medicaid Asset Protect Trust, or Medicaid Trust, is a type of irrevocable trust that protects a Medicaid applicant’s assets from being counted for eligibility purposes.
4. What if I become seriously ill and can’t make my healthcare decisions – who will determine my healthcare?
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 Medical POA allows another named individual to make healthcare decisions for you.
5. Who will handle my estate after I die?
When a person dies, all their property, assets, and valuables become part of their estate. Someone has to distribute the deceased’s personal property, pay the estate bills and taxes and follow the directions in their will. The person who is legally responsible for managing the deceased’s estate is called the executor. The executor might be named in a will or trust document or could be appointed by a probate court if the person died intestate (without a will).
If you are a single female boomer who is planning on how to protect your loved ones after you are gone, an experienced estate planning lawyer can advise you on the best options for your unique situation. To talk to a qualified attorney in Chicago or Lombard, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-382-8075.
AREAS WE SERVE: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties