Legality of a Will
When looking into creating a will, there are certain terms and concepts that should be defined in order to understand what makes it a legal document that can be executed when you have departed this world. It is advisable that you not attempt to create a will without the help of a qualified will lawyer. The northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois lawyers from Bott & Associates, Ltd. are highly experienced in will creation and assist you in understanding the process and creating a will that best fits the needs of you and your loved ones.
A Will Defined
A will is a legal document where the originator, known as a testator, writes down instructions as to the distribution of his or her property once they have died. There are different specifications in each state as to what makes a valid will, therefore a qualified will lawyer will know what is required in your state
Reasons to Create a Will
- You have control over what happens to your property after you die
- If you have minor children, you can select someone to take care of your children (a guardian) in the event you pass away.
- The probate process is expedited and there are less administrative costs to administer your estate if you have a will
- You can choose someone to be your executor — the person who will take care of your estate
- Having a will gives you a little piece of mind knowing you have taken steps to take care of your loved ones when you cannot do so yourself
Notarized or Witnessed Wills
In most states, your will must be witnessed by at least one competent person. Your will lawyer will direct you as to the requirements of your state.
Length of Time a Will is Valid
Your will is valid for as long as you say. You can revoke a will by destroying it or by creating a new will that says the old will is invalid.
There are ways to revoke certain sections of your will. For example, if you created a will while you were married and later divorced, gifts given to your first spouse named in the will are revoked. But, to be certain of the laws in your state, confirm the specifics with your attorney.
Wills vs Trusts
If you have minor children, you still need a will to name someone to raise them. A trust is usually created by people who are looking to save money on estate taxes and avoiding probate. Also, if there are assets not named in the trust, a will can be used to direct the property to the heirs you select.
Creating a Will
Using qualified attorneys, such as the team of experienced estate planning lawyers at Bott & Associates, Ltd., is critical as opposed to creating a will using an online company. Each state has specific requirements and the online option may not account for the statutes particular to your state. A will lawyer northwest suburbs Chicago clients recommend from our firm can also answer your estate-planning questions and concerns and help you with choosing your beneficiaries, etc.
What if I die without a will?
This is a question that is often asked of each Northwest Suburbs Chicago will lawyer at Bott & Associates, Ltd. The implications of not having a will or other estate planning tool in place upon one’s passing may affect the deceased’s final wishes as well as their intended heirs. Though estate planning is not often at the top of a person’s to-do list, the repercussions of not taking this step can last for generations. It’s an unfortunate fact that unexpected deaths happen quite frequently, and even someone who enjoys perfect health can pass away suddenly in a car accident.
For this reason, one is never too young to contact a will lawyer in Northwest Suburbs Chicago, and neither is it maudlin to be responsible in this way. Bott & Associates, Ltd. can make the process easy for you and our estate planning lawyer is especially adept at putting clients at ease in securing their final wishes. An in-person consultation may also benefit you in learning about estate planning options you are not aware of and can be beneficial in allowing your heirs to avoid paying unnecessary taxes.
What does it mean to die intestate?
Intestate is a term used to describe the passing of someone who did not have a will. In the event that the deceased owned property or other assets at the time of their death, the determination of who will inherit their property falls to the state of Illinois and the established laws of the state. Our estate planning lawyer will clarify if there are exceptions to the rule in your case, but the state will probably rule that your surviving spouse should inherit your assets. In the absence of a spouse, your children will inherit and if you have no children, distant family members will become the court-designated heirs.
As you can imagine, these basic guidelines that do not take into account the deceased’s relationships to those persons, or of the nature of the types of assets, may lead to an undesirable conclusion. Our estate planning lawyer can make sure that your intended legacy is preserved in the manner of your choosing, rather than the state’s.
What does a will not accomplish?
Contrary to many peoples’ belief, a will is not the be-all-end-all of estate planning that a lawyer may provide. Indeed, depending on the nature of one’s assets and plans for their heirs, they may benefit from a Northwest Suburbs Chicago will lawyer creating a will in addition to or instead of using other tools. Here are common examples of why a will alone may not be sufficient:
- A will cannot direct the transfer of non-probate types of property. These types of assets which through the use of title or a beneficiary designation will automatically transfer to the person of your choice outside of your estate. For example, assets such as real estate that are co-owned by another individual.
- A will cannot direct the transfer of insurance policies or retirement accounts as they will pass to the pre-designated beneficiary.
Contact Bott & Associates, Ltd. to speak with an experienced will lawyer Northwest Suburbs Chicago residents trust to learn more about your estate planning options.