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  • Collinsville, IL Legal: What does estate planning mean?

    February 6, 2019 | Blog Estate Planning
  • Everything You Need to Know about Estate Planning in Collinsville, IL

    Estate planning sounds like something reserved for the very wealthy, but it’s something that everyone should do. The best way to handle estate planning is to find a local Collinsville, IL attorney to help you make sure everything is taken care of, but some people also prefer to do it themselves. Here are some basics to understand before you make any decisions about your estate.

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    What Is Estate Planning?

    Estate planning is simply the act of creating legal documents and directives to determine what will happen to your assets after you pass away. A thorough estate plan usually also includes end-of-life decisions, such as whether you want your organs donated and what kinds of medical procedures you want done if you are dying. This usually involves a collection of documents, including power of attorney forms, a living will and a last will and testament.

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    What Happens If You Don’t Have a Will?

    Part of the reason that estate planning is so important is that it can minimize the stress and hassle your loved ones face after you die. Without a plan, your family will have to go to court to divide up your assets. A good will can significantly speed up the probate process and minimize the time your family members have to spend on legal issues. A living trust can bypass the probate process entirely.

    If you die without a legal will or living trust, Illinois law will determine how your property is split up. Even if that division is acceptable to you, you may want certain assets to go to certain people. The court may divide things up differently, so it’s best to create a will.

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    Determining Who Gets To Make the Decisions

    Another major benefit of estate planning is that it allows you to decide in advance who gets to make medical and financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Before you die, this takes the form of granting someone a medical or durable power of attorney. You can also name an executor who is responsible for making sure the instructions in your will are carried out. Naming these people ahead of time lets you choose people who have similar values and who you can trust to do what you would want.

    Estate planning can sometimes be an emotionally difficult process, but it’s a critical part of making sure your end-of-life decisions are followed. While you can create your own will and other documents, a Collinsville, IL estate planning attorney can help you make sure every detail is decided and that your documents are valid under Illinois law.