Creating and finalizing a will is necessary to ensure your wishes are carried out after you pass away or become incapacitated. This document outlines your final wishes and makes them legally binding, from designating loved ones as beneficiaries of your assets to appointing guardianship for minor children. You may think such decisions can be put off until later in life, but delaying the process is a bad idea. Regardless of your age or health condition, you cannot afford to risk foregoing a will. Taking a proactive approach to estate planning is the only way to ensure your family members are protected against uncertainties that may arise in the future.
Consult the information below for answers to commonly asked questions about wills, then contact an experienced Joliet will attorney today. Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC can help you develop a comprehensive estate plan to uphold your wishes, preserve your estate, and safeguard your loved ones.
Creating a valid will gives you the power to make decisions now about how your finances and health care are prepared for the future. It allows you to put your affairs in order, so your loved ones know how to proceed if you experience a devastating accident, develop a terminal illness, or suddenly pass away. No one enjoys thinking about such possibilities, but you will inevitably reach a point in your life where you will be unable to navigate these issues or adequately provide for your family.
When you create a will with assistance from a Joliet will attorney, you will list the assets and property you wish to leave behind, name beneficiaries to inherit this property, and designate an executor to oversee the management and distribution of your property. If you have minor children, you can select a trusted individual to manage any property you leave to them, appoint a guardian to care for them, and leave specific instructions to guide this care. You can change, update, or revoke your will at your discretion by making an amendment called a codicil. Alternatively, you may destroy the old will and make a new will that is either contradictory to the previous one or explicitly revokes it.
Dying without a will in Illinois, referred to as dying intestate, means your property becomes subject to an arrangement overseen by the state. Property distributed through intestate succession goes to your closest relatives starting with your spouse and children, then extends to parents and other increasingly distant relatives. Neglecting to make a will effectively surrenders control of your estate and your family’s financial security and places it into the hands of the state. Even the most skilled probate court cannot possibly understand the full dynamics of your family situation and cannot be expected to make the same decisions you would make concerning their care.
It is difficult to give an accurate estimate for what you can expect to pay a lawyer to prepare a will, so your best option is to set up consultations with individual Joliet will lawyers and ask them directly.
Not all lawyers charge the same amount, and each lawyer will charge individual clients differently for their services. Cost depends on several factors including your location, the complexity of your family situation, the volume of assets and property you own, and the specific lawyer’s training and experience level. Some attorneys charge a flat fee, typically around $300 for a basic will or over $1,000 for a more complicated document. Other attorneys choose to bill clients with an hourly rate ranging from around $150 per hour in rural areas to up to $400 in urban areas.
Joliet will attorneys that specialize in estate planning have more extensive knowledge and resources than general lawyers, meaning their fees are more significant. However, their expertise allows them to handle complex estate planning issues, offer higher attention to detail, and deliver more precise, efficient results.
No, you do not need your will to be notarized for it to be considered legal in Illinois. However, you should make your will “self-proving,” which gives the probate court the authority to admit the will and establish its validity without contacting your witnesses to provide testimony. This saves your family the hassle, time, and court costs associated with locating witnesses and bringing them before the court.
Neglecting to take this step may extend the probate process by months, during which time your beneficiaries will not have access to the assets you designate for them. Unlike other states, Illinois allows you to create a self-proved will without requiring a self-proving affidavit. To do this, you request that your witnesses sign an attestation clause that confirms, under penalty of perjury, that the will was properly created and finalized.
In most cases, clients who retain the services of a Joliet will attorney decide to create a comprehensive estate plan rather than simply making a will. Unfortunately, the remaining subset of people share the mistaken assumption that wills alone are sufficient for estate plans. However, while wills are legally enforceable and can be incredibly detailed, this document is only one component of a complete estate plan.
Choosing to create a full estate plan provides the highest level of protection for an individual's assets and allows their loved ones to navigate the process of asset management and distribution more efficiently after their death. It also gives people the authority to specify instructions regarding their care if they become disabled, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to make sound decisions for their finances or medical care.
A Joliet will attorney specializing in estate planning can help you create everything you need for the most inclusive estate plan, including:
Although you do have the option of creating an estate plan yourself, the process can be extremely complicated, even for the average estate. Retaining the services of an experienced Joliet will attorney is the best way to ensure you clearly outline all your wishes and render them legally enforceable. At Vahey Law & Mediation, LLC, our team offers client-focused, compassionate, and dedicated estate planning services. We will work with you to create a comprehensive estate plan that communicates your wishes and delivers financial security for your family.
While no one anticipates an early death or incapacitation, these are the types of unexpected events that can significantly impact the lives of your loved ones. The best way to prepare for all eventualities is to begin creating your estate plan right away. Contact Vahey Law & Mediation today to schedule a consultation with our team. With our help, you can achieve the confidence and peace of mind that your family will be provided for in the future.