National Estate Planning Awareness Week is October 18-24, 2021. National Estate Planning Awareness Week is a public campaign designed to help us understand why an estate plan is essential to our financial wellness. This is a time to plan for your family’s future and to secure your legacy. Over half of Americans – 56% – do not have an up-to-date estate plan! A meeting with a Probate, Trust, & Estates Attorney can help you feel prepared for the unknown, knowing that you have a plan in place. Though it may be tempting to put off, having a plan can help prevent serious issues down the road.
Once you have your estate plan in place, you may not need to worry about it again unless you have major changes in your life and decide to make changes or want to review your options. Having a plan can give you peace of mind that you can enjoy now and for days to come.
Major Changes That Require An Update To Your Will
The saying goes, if your will is older than your car, it’s time to update your will! You need to an update to your will if you have major changes to your life situation such as:
• births or deaths
• marriages or divorces
• start a new business
• sell a business
• your wealth portfolio changes substantially
• buy a new home, investment property
• an heir has a drug or mental health or special needs issue
• an executor dies
• new laws that impact your estate come into effect
• you lose your original will
• you move to another state or country
1. Creating A Will Is Too Complicated
A will is very important and can be confusing if you’re not familiar with your state’s estate planning and probate laws. An experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through the information and documents you need to discuss and create your will. What will be complicated is if you die without a will – and your heirs and loved ones have the additional stress and cost of the probate system to settle your affairs after you are gone.
2. How Often Should I Have An Attorney Review My Estate Plan?
Your estate plans should be reviewed whenever there’s a milestone event in your life, such as a marriage, birth, divorce or other big change in your life. As a general rule, if you’re over the age of 60 and you can’t remember when you last reviewed and updated your estate plan, it’s time to review your documents with your attorney. As a guideline, if your estate plan is older than your car, you need to review it.
3. How Old Should I Be When I Create An Estate Plan?
If you have children under 18, have a job, are married or own property such as a car or home, you have assets and legal responsibilities. Even if you’re young, single and just starting your career you likely have an insurance policy at work and some assets you care about. You may have a mortgage, car loan and perhaps student loans. And if you have a child or are married, your children and spouse will require money for their education, housing and care. If you become incapacitated or die at a young age, you need to designate who will care for your minor children, and how your assets will be distributed.
4. I Don’t Have Many Assets, Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?
If you don’t own a home or have many assets, many people think their children can simply divide up their property after they die. If you die without a will in Illinois, the distribution of your assets is done according to state intestacy laws – meaning the court decides who inherits your assets. According to a 2019 survey, the biggest threat to estate planning is family conflict. You can protect your family members from future arguments over your estate by talking to your family in an open and honest conversation about your plans and creating a will or trust with an estate planning lawyer who will help create a legal plan that follows your wishes.
5. It’s Cheaper to Make a DIY Will
A Do It Yourself will made at home on your computer could end up costing you time and money – and get you exactly what you didn’t want. For example, in Illinois, you must have two witnesses watch you sign your will. There are special rules that apply to the witnesses and their ability to inherit. If you’re considering using online DIY will software, there are many additional things to consider. Learn More: Are Online Wills Valid in Illinois
National Estate Planning Awareness Week is an important reminder to review your estate plan to secure your family’s future and to protect your legacy. Every family situation is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to estate planning that will adequately serve the needs of everyone. Instead, it is important to take the time to understand specific goals and then craft solutions designed to accomplish those goals.
If you want to protect your loved ones after you are gone, an experienced estate planning lawyer can advise you on the best options for your situation. 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.