Why do I Need a Will?

Illinois Estate Planning Attorney

While many have some idea about what a will is, it is important to understand the true importance of this estate planning document. Yes, it says how you want your property distributed after you die, but its value reaches beyond this. It is also good to know the consequences should you not have a will in place when you pass away.
Estate planning can provide peace of mind for you and your family. Important estate planning documents such as a will can secure a future for your family that you want and bring comfort to you knowing that your loved ones will be provided for after you are gone. To design an estate plan that meets the unique needs of you and your loved ones, contact M&A Law Firm, P.C. today.

What Is the Purpose of a Will?

Your will outlines who will inherit your property when you pass. You can name an individual, a group of people, or an entity such as charity to receive an asset upon your death. Additionally, a will has several other important purposes, such as:

  • If you have minor children, your will can name a guardian and an alternate guardian for them. The alternate guardian will serve in the event the first choice guardian is unable to. You also have the option of describing the specific duties of the guardian.
  • A will is also a good place to include any specifics regarding how you want other matters of your estate handled such as any trusts you may have established or any tax plans.
  • Your will also names the executor of your estate, an important position to hold as this person will be responsible for carrying out the instructions included in your will.

A will also has the added benefit of often speeding up the sometimes lengthy probate process. With your wishes specifically outlined in a will, the probate court will not have to make guesses as to what you would have wanted. Additionally, if you have a rather sizeable estate, a properly designed and drafted will and estate plan can help your family and heirs, those set to inherit part of your estate, avoid costly federal estate taxes.

What If I Die Without Having a Will?

Passing away without a will is referred to as dying “intestate.” All states, including Illinois, have intestate laws that outline who will be the default recipients of your estate should you die without having a will. If you pass away without having a will, your property will be distributed as follows:

  • If you are married and have no surviving descendants (descendants include children), your entire estate will go to your surviving spouse.
  • If you are married and have surviving descendants, your surviving spouse will receive 50% of your estate and your descendants will evenly split the other 50% amongst themselves.
  • If you do not have a spouse or a surviving spouse, but you have descendants, your entire estate will be equally dividing among your descendants.

There are further provisions under the law for what happens if you are not married or do not have any children at your time of death. Generally speaking, the probate court will work its way down your family tree, looking for someone to distribute your estate to.
If no heirs can be found, then your estate will pass to the government. More specifically, any real estate will pass to the county in which the real estate is located. Any personal property will go to the county where you last lived.

Get the Benefit of Providing a Future for Your Family That You Can Rely On

Thinking about estate planning can be difficult. However, it can also be a big relief to know that your estate plan will distribute your estate in a way you want and provide for your loved ones in a way that you can depend on. Contact M&A Law Firm, P.C. today and create an estate plan today. We proudly serve Cook County and Schaumburg, Illinois.