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.