If you haven’t started developing an estate plan in Illinois, you may have some misconceptions about the process. It’s not a lofty document only for extremely wealthy individuals, but an essential set of papers that define your wishes for your care before your death and distribution of assets afterward.
Why do I need an estate plan?
Some people think that only a will is needed to distribute their assets. However, estate planning accomplishes much more as it looks to the future. When you develop an estate plan, you ensure that your assets and end-of-life- wishes are carried out in an approved manner. These documents speak for you when you can no longer speak for yourself. Among the details, your estate plan should include:
- A will to determine who should get specific property
- Trusts to manage various assets
- Powers of attorney for healthcare and financial dealings
- Advanced directives detailing end-of-life wishes
- Life insurance to pay for funeral and burial expenses
Your estate plan should be flexible to account for those curve balls that life often throws at you. You need to realize that circumstances in life change. You should periodically review your documents to ensure they reflect your current wishes.
Don’t take your estate plan lightly
Planning your estate is one of the most important things you’ll ever do, even if you won’t see the results. It’s often difficult to get started, but once you start to write down how your estate should proceed, you’ll see how easy the process can be.
As with similar issues, take your time before deciding on solutions. Know that as life changes, so can your estate plan. You are not locked into the first draft of your documents and can change them at will, as they should always reflect current wishes.