Death can be a taboo subject and one that many people don’t want to think about. But estate planning is essential for those in Illinois who want to protect their assets after death. A thorough estate plan details exactly how one’s assets are to be divided after one’s passing. A proper estate plan goes beyond simply writing a will and can help prevent disputes among surviving family members.
Where to start
If one is starting from scratch with no estate plan in place, it’s best to begin with a list of physical assets. This may include real estate, jewelry, art collections, vehicles, and other valuable items. Next, one should consider non-tangible assets like investments, bank accounts, life insurance policies, and 401k plans. This list should include account numbers and information on how to access physical documents if applicable.
Debts should also be accounted for in an estate plan with account numbers and contact information of the debt holders. To prevent issues among beneficiaries, it can be helpful to inform them of estate plans, especially if there will be charitable donations included in the will. One should choose a responsible and reliable estate administrator and communicate to that person one’s wishes for how to handle administration. The estate administrator, along with one’s spouse if applicable, should have copies of all estate planning documents.
Legal assistance is key
Estate planning can be challenging, but once complete, it provides peace of mind that assets will be dealt with properly based on one’s wishes. Estate plans usually include a will, but there are also many other matters that must be dealt with. An attorney with knowledge of Illinois estate planning laws can provide guidance on the process and answer any questions or address concerns based on an individual’s circumstances.