A will can simultaneously be one of the simplest or one of the most complex legal documents that you can create. This document could simply designate one person to receive the entirety of your estate, or it could be dozens of pages long and involve delegating physical property, bank accounts, stock ownership, and the control of a business.
An attorney could help you understand the basics of wills in Lombard. A dedicated wills lawyer could work to identify your goals, explain how wills work within State law, and craft a will that comprehensively addresses every aspect of your estate.
A will is known as a testamentary document, which simply means that it describes what a person wants to do with his or her estate when he or she dies. Probate courts handle the distribution of these estates and generally consider all will to be valid documents.
With a few exceptions, a will can dictate any terms that the testator desires. This includes providing money to heirs, donating proceeds from the sale of the property to charity, or even disinheriting a person who would otherwise stand to inherit property if the will did not exist.
A person may make a will at any time after he or she turns 18 years old and for any reason. It does not need to take a specific form, but there are rules that control what a will must contain in order to be valid in the eyes of the law.
755 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/4-1 – 15 et seq. describe how wills work and what they must contain to be valid under Illinois state law. First, any person of sound mind may make a will, and a will that meets the legal requirements under these statutes is presumably valid.
The key requirement for any will is the signing and attestation. A will must be in writing, and the testator must sign it in the presence of at least two credible witnesses. Alternatively, a testator may order another person to sign on his or her behalf as long as the witnesses see this occur.
One key caveat to remember is that if a person stands to benefit under the terms of the will, such as by receiving money, that person cannot be a sole witness to the testator signing the will. While a beneficiary may certainly serve as a witness, 755 ILCS 5/4-6(a) states that two additional witnesses who have no interest in the matter must also sign. A Lombard attorney could help to make sure that a will contains all the required components and that it meets the attestation requirements.
A will could be used to dictate what is to be done with your money, property, or any other interests that you hold at the time of death. While wills can generally state whatever you want them to, there are some legal prerequisites that must be met to make them legal documents.
It is illegal to forge any part of a will, and all interested parties may contest a will as a forgery. Additionally, a testator may modify, amend, or revoke a will at any time as long as he or she follows the correct legal procedures. A Lombard attorney could help you to meet your goals concerning your will, so call today to see what one could do for you.