It’s not difficult to create an estate plan to protect your future and your family’s future – especially with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you. For many, the hardest part of making an estate plan is getting started.
It really, it’s not difficult to begin the estate planning process. Many people don’t start because they don’t know where to begin. Here are a couple of things you should consider as you prepare to start your estate plan.
Start On Your Estate Plan
- Choose a Trustee or Executor
Who do you know and trust to fulfill your wishes after you are gone? When a person dies, all their property, assets, and valuables become part of their estate. Someone has to manage and organize the deceased’s personal property, pay the estate bills and taxes, distribute any remaining assets to the deceased’s heirs and follow the directions in their will. The person who is legally responsible for managing the deceased’s estate is the executor, trustee or estate administrator.Another alternative is to hire a professional estate administrator to manage your estate.
- Child Guardianship
Do you have minor children who need to be cared for after you are gone? If you have minor children, your will must name a guardian for your children to care for them and protect their future – and any inheritance. You need to legally document your choice of guardianship in your will so that it is recognized by Illinois courts.
- Transfer of Assets
Who do you want to inherit your assets – your stuff – after you are gone? Your estate plan must name your beneficiaries. Make a list of your loved ones, family members, pets, charities and other organizations you want to protect or receive some of your assets after you die. Make a list of all your accounts with beneficiary designations, such as retirement accounts, pensions, IRAs and annuities.
- Healthcare Directive
Your estate plan should also include what happens if you become seriously ill or incapacitated and cannot make your own healthcare decisions. Who do you trust to fulfill your wishes if you can’t talk to the doctors? An advanced medical directive is a legal document that informs your family and doctors how you want your medical and end-of-life care if you cannot participate in your own decision-making.Advanced healthcare directives are living documents that you can update and change as your situation changes.
If you become ill or incapacitated, who will pay your bills? Handle your finances? Run your business? A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one or more persons the right to act on your behalf. When you give someone your power of attorney, you can create the best POA to fit your needs. The powers you convey through a power of attorney may be broad or narrow depending on the language of the document establishing the power.
And don’t forget to make an ‘In Case of Emergency‘ document to let your loved ones know that you have an estate plan and how to access your documents.
Download our free 7-Point Estate Planning Checklist
DuPage and Kane County Estate Planning Lawyer
When you work with an attorney to execute an estate plan, they can guide you. Contact Mario Godoy at the Estate & Probate Legal Group in Oak Brook Illinois at 630-864-5835. We serve Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.