Everyone should have a will in place that will effectively distribute their estate according to their wishes, but many people never get around to it. Despite the difficulty, everyone should prepare a will in order to protect their friends and loved ones. A Chicago estate lawyer can simplify the process and help individuals in a variety of ways in order to prepare a legally binding document that will hold up in court.
DIY Wills May Not Be Valid
It’s tempting to save a bit of money by using an online program or a software template to write your will, but it’s often a mistake that can cost your heirs a lot of money and heartache when your will goes to probate after you’ve passed on. Most programs or kits for preparing a last will and testament are very basic, not taking any number of variables into account. A Chicago estate lawyer is familiar with all of the legal statutes that apply to preparing an estate and drafting a legal will and can ensure that your document is legally binding.
A Chicago Estate Lawyer Will Make Sure Your Directives Are Legal And Appropriate
Although you may want your will to simply say that your entire estate goes to your children, the court will generally consider such a document too vague. Other common issues include leaving an inheritance of money or property to minor children who can’t legally inherit directly. For minor children, a Chicago estate lawyer can prepare a trust that appropriately handles the money until a child reaches a designated age. Trusts can also be designed to protect your estate and provide for someone who is incapable of providing for himself. If you are hesitant about leaving a large estate or large sums of money to other adults, talk to a Chicago estate lawyer at Peck Ritchey about creating an appropriate trust to administer the money according to your wishes.
Leaving Unwell Or Elderly Family Members “Out In The Cold”
When you’re working with an estate attorney, you’ll naturally put a lot of thought into outlining a plan to care for your children, but what about an elderly parent or grandparent who might outlive you? If you are currently caring for them, they could be literally left out in the cold if no one is willing to spend the time or money to care for them properly. Peck Ritchey attorneys have dealt with many estates where the deceased assumed incorrectly that other relatives would be happy to step up and care for elderly parents. A Chicago estate lawyer can help you prepare a plan that addresses these issues and puts aside funds from your estate that will be used for their safety and well-being.
Leaving An Outdated Will In Place Is As Bad As No Will At ALL
A will that you prepared when you got married isn’t good enough if you now have children to raise and elderly parents who need care. Preparing one document and then locking it away because you assume it will serve its purpose no matter how much time has passed is an unfortunate mistake many parents make. Without a document that specifically stipulates who the guardian of your children should be, the courts can step in and appoint a relative who would not have been your first choice for their care. If the years have gone by with the typical births, deaths, name changes, relocations and marriages, a Chicago estate attorney will likely tell you that the will may not hold up in court because the circumstances of potential heirs have changed considerably.
Not Being Specific About Personal Property
You may feel certain that when you pass away, your children and grandchildren will divide up personal items such as jewelry or coin collections in a way that is fair to everyone, but the reality is usually a bit more grim. In some cases, siblings can start a feud over something as specific as who gets your diamond earrings or who inherits your collection of miniature cars. These kinds of arguments can quickly turn into family feuds that tie up your estate in court for years.
Preparing your will should be part of an overall estate plan to protect your assets and your heirs. At Peck Ritchey, a Chicago estate lawyer can be your greatest asset when you sit down to prepare you own will.
Young people tend to think they’re invincible and most don’t want to look too far into the future, reasoning that they have years to prepare for retirement or write a will. Unfortunately, unexpected circumstances can crop up at any time, and if you aren’t familiar with estate planning or wills, you may find yourself caught off guard. You may be years away from retirement, but understanding Chicago elder law issues will be crucial if your parents need assistance or you become incapacitated or pass away suddenly.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to prepare sufficiently for the future. An estate attorney in Chicago can help you prepare for the unexpected by assisting you in the preparation of an iron-clad will, guiding you through the legal ramifications of guardianship of your parents or elderly loved ones, and protecting your property, assets and children in the future.
Chicago Elder Law Consultations – The Time Is Now
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that having a Chicago will attorney isn’t relevant to your own family just because you’re young. Consulting with an elder law attorney can help you prepare for the future by giving you an understanding of all the legal issues involved in setting up an estate, writing a will, and stipulating guardians for your children if you pass away while they are minors.
You can also learn a great deal about issues surrounding becoming a legal guardian for loved ones who are already entering their twilight years. If you have a parent or parents who will need assistance in the near future, meeting with a Chicago will attorney or Chicago estate attorneys is the first step in preparing the legal documents you’ll need.
You should discuss the various documents you can use to outline a plan for your own care as you grow older. Among the most common reasons for consulting an elder law attorney before you’re retired are preparing a will that clearly outlines who inherits what from your estate, instituting a medical power of attorney that outlines which life saving measures you do and don’t want exercised on your behalf and putting someone you trust in charge of important decisions if you are incapacitated.
Why Now Is Better Than Later: Chicago Elder Law Issues Affect Your Life Today And Tomorrow
Most people don’t like to think about meeting with Chicago estate attorneys, particularly when they are young and have children who are still little. It’s not a comfortable thing to think about, and some people worry that preparing a will is tempting fate. It’s a serious mistake, however, to assume you have plenty of time; unexpected illness or death can leave your children and legacy unprotected if you don’t have a will, power of attorney or other estate planning documents in place.
Meeting with estate attorneys while you’re still young is an excellent way to ensure that your children are properly cared for both financially and physically. Establishing a good working rapport with Chicago will attorneys is one of the best steps you can take. Chicago elder law attorneys who prepare estate documents can help you put your finances into proper order in the event you are injured or pass away while your children are young. Chicago will attorneys who are already familiar with your financial situation and your final wishes will be better able to carry out those wishes and protect your heirs in court.
Dying without a will in place or without instructions for the care and placement of your minor children can lead to your children suffering additional financial and emotional burdens they should have never had to face. Chicago estate attorneys can minimize or avoid the probate process.
Estate Administration & Inheritances
In addition to helping you write up your own will or estate plan, Chicago estate attorneys can help you handle the complexities of administering a loved ones estate, should you be appointed executor, or representing you as a beneficiary of any inheritance that comes your way.
Disputes over wills arise every day. They can tear a family apart, particularly if your parents or grandparents died without a will, revised their will suddenly before their death or left behind an ambiguous, difficult to understand will. Scheduling a family meeting with a Chicago will attorney can help clarify inheritance issues and prevent feuds in the future so that your parents can rest easy, knowing you and your siblings will be properly provided for.
Now is the time to consult with a Chicago elder law attorney or Chicago estate attorneys. By having your entire family meet with an estate attorney, you can ensure that three generations of your family are protected and cared for when you or your parents pass away.
Keeping your will and estate plan updated is a chore you may push to the bottom of your to-do list. After all, you have a busy life and you did have a will prepared. But having a will that’s outdated can be the same as not having a will at all. Both can lead to problems when your estate is put into probate. If your life circumstances have changed over the years, your will may be inaccurate or outdated. At the least, you should review your will about every five years. Of course, if some major change in your circumstances happens before the five year mark, don’t wait. The more often you meet with estate attorneys who are versed in elder law, the better off your heirs will be.
You’ve Changed Your Marital Status Or Have More Children
If you check your will periodically, you may discover things you hadn’t thought of. If you’ve left something for each of your children, be sure any new children are added to your will. If you’ve gotten married or divorced, be sure your estate attorneys change your will to reflect your current marital state. It can be heartbreaking for your current wife if your will leaves everything to your ex-wife, and the financial consequences could be devastating. Talking to elder law attorneys each time you review your will is a good way to make sure you aren’t missing anything important and will minimize the likelihood your heirs will need litigation lawyers later.
Changes In Legislation Can Mean Changes In Your Will
Law makers periodically change legal guidelines that affect wills and estate plans. Meeting regularly with estate attorneys ensures your will meets all legal requirements. It will also give you the opportunity to discuss how any recent changes might affect you or your heirs. Responsible elder law specialists and estate attorneys should update you on relevant changes each time you meet.
You Need Documentation Of Changes
Wills are often contested by unhappy heirs if they don’t believe that your final will and testament is the correct one. By meeting with your elder law or estate attorneys on a regular basis, you help create a paper trail that will back up the validity of your will. It also helps reassure everyone that the will was actually prepared by you and that you intended to make relevant changes. You should also use the same estate attorneys over the years whenever possible in order to keep the chain of documentation unbroken.
Regular Check-Ups Will Minimize Oversights
Small details can be missed if you write your will, then forget about it for long stretches of time. If you regularly review it with estate attorneys or elder law specialists, you’re more likely to catch minor discrepancies or potential problems. You won’t have to worry about the distribution of even your smallest assets if your do a periodic check-up of your will. No detail is too small when you’re establishing an estate, so don’t hesitate to consult with an elder law specialist or estate attorneys who can answer any seemingly unimportant questions.
You Can Enjoy Life Knowing Your Family Is Provided For
Many people start to worry about what will happen to their families when they pass away. It can interfere with enjoying life here and now if you’re fearful your will won’t protect your loved ones in the future. Visiting estate attorneys periodically to review your will and make any changes needed can give you valuable peace of mind. You may not make changes to your will at every meeting, but just knowing you’re keeping on top of things with your estate attorneys is a valuable gift to your family.