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Glen Ellyn Estate Planning AttorneyEstate planning is one of those responsibilities that people tend to postpone as long as possible. Understandably, thinking about the possibility of incapacitation or death is not something most people are eager to consider. However, building a detailed estate plan is essential to ensuring that your wishes are followed if you fall extremely ill or pass away.

The term “power of attorney” may refer to a legal document or the individual that acts as power of attorney. There are two main types of powers of attorney in Illinois. One handles financial concerns on another person’s behalf and the other handles medical decisions. As you create your estate plans, make sure to carefully choose the individual or individuals who will act as your power of attorney.

Power of Attorney for Property and Healthcare Power of Attorney

Have you ever thought about who should manage your affairs if you are in a serious accident or suffer an incapacitating illness? A power of attorney is an estate planning tool that lets you give someone the authority to act on your behalf if you cannot make or express your wishes. In Illinois, a power of attorney for property or financial power of attorney pays your bills and manages your money if you cannot do so yourself. A healthcare power of attorney makes medical decisions for you. Some people choose the same person to act as a healthcare power of attorney and financial power of attorney. Others choose two separate people to fulfill these roles.

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Villa Park Probate LawyerAfter a person dies, their loved ones will need to sort out their final affairs. The person who was named as the executor of the estate in the deceased person’s will is responsible for filing the will in probate court and overseeing the process of distributing the person’s assets to their heirs. There are a variety of complications that can arise during this process, and in some cases, the deceased person’s family members or other expected beneficiaries may dispute the validity of the will. By understanding the reasons why a will may be contested, executors, beneficiaries, or other involved parties can determine their options for addressing this issue.

Potential Reasons for Will Contests

After a will is filed in an Illinois probate court, interested parties (including beneficiaries, expected heirs, or creditors) will have six months to contest the will. However, there are only a few specific reasons that a will may be contested. Family members or other heirs generally cannot contest a will simply because they are unhappy with the decisions that were made. Instead, the validity of a will may be disputed if a person believes that there is evidence that the terms of the will went against the deceased person’s actual wishes. Reasons that a will may be found invalid include:

  • Someone coerced the deceased person into creating or updating their will - This is known as “undue influence,” and it will generally involve situations where someone in a position of power over the person convinced them to make changes to their will. For example, a nurse who provided daily care for an elderly person may have convinced the person to name them as their primary beneficiary, or a family member who managed a person’s finances may have convinced them to change their will in a way that unfairly benefits themselves or others.

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DuPage County Estate Planning AttorneyDuring the estate planning process, most people will focus primarily on what will happen after their death, addressing how their property should be distributed among their heirs and how they want to handle the disposal of their remains. However, an estate plan can also address how certain matters will be handled while a person is still alive, including the types of medical care they will receive. Addressing these issues in your estate plan can be important, since it will help your family members avoid uncertainty, and it will ensure that you will receive the medical care and treatment you want, no matter what happens.

Advance Medical Directives in Illinois

Illinois law allows you to create the following types of advance directives to address your medical treatment:

  • Living will - This document addresses what you would like to happen if you become terminally ill and cannot express your wishes regarding your treatment. You can specify whether you want life-sustaining treatment to be provided or withheld or whether you want to receive treatment meant to provide comfort and ease your pain. A living will only applies in situations where you have an irreversible condition that will lead to your death, and any treatment provided would only delay death temporarily. 

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IL estate planning lawyerBeing the parent of a disabled child is a challenging situation in which to find yourself. If you are the parent of a disabled child, one of the most pressing issues you may be facing is how to protect your child’s wellbeing when you are no longer around to care for him or her directly. Estate planning is important for any parent; however, it is especially crucial when your child has a mental or physical disability. A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that can help you ensure that your assets are used for your child’s benefit after your death.

A Last Will and Testament May be Insufficient

If you are like most people, you probably assume that you can simply leave your child funds and property through your will. A last will and testament is a great way to ensure that important family heirlooms are passed to the intended beneficiaries and formalize your last wishes. However, a will alone may be insufficient in some situations. Leaving a lump sum inheritance to heirs is not always the best option. Furthermore, wills must pass through “probate” or the process of legally validating the will before assets can be distributed to heirs. Lastly, a disabled child who receives an inheritance through a will may be ineligible for certain government assistance programs.

How a Special Needs Trust Can Benefit You and Your Child

A special needs trust is a trust used to transfer assets for the benefit of a disabled person. If your child has an intellectual disability or physical handicap that impairs his or her ability to be financially self-supporting, a special needs trust may be right for you.

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Lombard estate planning attorney wills and trusts

If you are thinking about setting up an estate plan, you are already ahead of most of the population. While estate planning is a key part of ensuring that assets are bequeathed to the right heirs, many people neglect this crucial process. Two of the most common estate planning tools are testamentary wills and trusts. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with both of these instruments. The type of estate planning tools that you will need depends on your financial and personal goals concerning estate planning.

A Testamentary Will Allows You to Dictate Inheritance Issues

A testamentary will is a document that states how your property should be handed down to heirs. Your will may also contain directions about funeral arrangements. If you have minor children, you can appoint a guardian in your will who is tasked with caring for your children if you and the other parent pass away. Unlike a trust, a will does not take effect until after your death. A will must be authenticated by the court during probate before heirs can receive their inheritance.

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