There are many important terms for estate planning in Lombard. Understandably, this is because there are many possibilities, planned for or otherwise, that may transpire between drafting an estate plan and the enacting of that plan. Fortunately, there are lawyers who have experience accounting for the unseen instances that catch many people off guard. Reach out to an attorney who could help educate you about the terms commonly associated with estate planning.
The law defines an executor or personal representative as the court-appointed fiduciary in charge of an estate. In Illinois, those are generally divided into two categories: executors and administrators. They are called executors in situations where the decedent left a will and administrators in situations where the decedent did not leave a will. Even though they have different names, they all have the same duties and essentially, it is the fact that they are the person that has been appointed by the probate court in Illinois to handle and distribute the estate.
The law defines the grantor as the person who prepared and signed the will or the trust. In Illinois, that person is known as the decedent. The grantor is always referred to as the person whose will it is and basically whose estate is being administered. A lot of Illinois estate and trust law, it all deals with the intent of the grantor in trying to figure out the grantor’s intent and that person is the person who left the will or the trust.
A last will and testament is a document where in Illinois, the requirements for it are it needs to be witnessed by two people. Neither of those people are allowed to be beneficiaries under the will. As in both those people have to attest to the fact the grantor signed the last will and testament in their presence. The witnesses themselves signed the last will and testament in the presence of each other and that the grantor was of sound mind and memory. If the will is not admitted to probate, it becomes the grantor’s last will and testament and the provisions in that will that dictate how the person’s assets are to be distributed.
The law defines an advanced medical directive as a document that provides a person’s wishes in the event that they are suffering from a terminal condition. In Illinois, an advance medical directive could take on several forms, whether it is a living will or a healthcare power of attorney. It outlines what types of treatments, lifesaving support, or lifesaving treatment that they would their doctors to administer in the event that they have a terminal condition.
The law defines intestacy as the set of statutes that take effect when a decedent dies without a will. It is a set of rules that largely follows trying to give a person’s property to their closest family members. When a person does not have a will, it is essentially the Illinois legislature’s best guess at what they would want to have happened. In Illinois, if they die and they do not have a spouse but they have kids, it is all divided between their kids if they do not have will. If they do have a spouse and surviving children, it is divided between them in certain proportions.
It could work out in some situations where a person has strong relationships with their closest family members, however, in other situations, they might not want the laws of intestacy to control higher properties divided on their death.
The law defines a power of attorney as a document that appoints an agent per either a property or for healthcare. In Illinois, we have the Power of Attorney Act and it allows for powers of attorney for property and health care. They appoint an agent to stand in their shoes and perform various types of activities that they may or may not be able to do themselves. They are most commonly used in the event of someone becoming disabled and they are no longer able to make their own personal and financial decisions.
If they previously appointed a power of attorney, that power of attorney agent could step into their shoes and perform most transactions for them. Illinois provides very broad powers to the agent under a power of attorney and could include basically the performance of nearly every transaction that the principal could perform if they were not disabled. The principal is the person who signed the power of attorney. It could be any type of real estate transaction, account-based transaction, stock transaction, or almost anything they can think of.
Healthcare power of attorney is also an advanced medical directive but it appoints someone to make personal and medical decisions for them in the event they are unable to do so.
Guardianship is effectively the court-supervised alternative to appointing agents on their powers of attorney. Guardianship involves a very specific set of procedures and statutes whereby a guardian similarly to execute or basically a representative is appointed to oversee their personal and financial affairs. It is all supervised by the court.
There are many important terms in Lombard estate planning that you need to be, at the very least, aware of if you intend to plan for the future. Clear and concise planning is invariably important if you wish to retain some control over your estate in the future. To ensure that you make your wishes known, speak to an estate planning lawyer today.