What is a Last Will and Testament?
The Last Will and Testament is your legal, written desires for the distribution of your assets after death. Wills can vary from very simple transfers of property to a spouse, to complex documents on where and when assets are divided amongst a complex chain of custody.
Who needs a Last Will and Testament?
Everyone should compose a Last Will and Testament. Even the simplest Will helps the courts determine where your assets should go after death. The speedy distribution of your assets helps your family in a time when grief complicates every decision. A Will helps avoid legal battles amongst your beneficiaries, and avoid strain between family members and friends. A will is absolutely crucial f you have children, are head of household, or have guardianship of another.
What happens if I don’t have a Last Will and Testament?
When you die, there is almost always some property and money left behind. With no Will, you have died intestate. When you die intestate, the state will decide where your assets go based on state law. This process can be very long and difficult, particularly if key family members reside elsewhere or are difficult to reach. In Illinois, the Probate Act of 1975 (755 ILCS 5/) covers descent and distribution. There is a lot of room for legal conflict when no Will is left to dictate the distribution of assets after death. If you leave behind minor aged children, the state will also have to designate a guardian.
How can I prepare my Last Will and Testament?
A Will and Testament may be prepared with an attorney, or on your own. Many sites offer online templates and forms for designing your Will. This document should be signed by the individual writing the Will, as well as two witnesses. While this process is an easy way of creating a Will, it is more vulnerable to a court challenge. Creating a Last Will and Testament with a qualified attorney improves the chances that document will stand up in court and all aspects of your estate will be addressed.
Eileen Kerlin Walsh P.C. and Associates can help you prepare your Last Will and Testament. Please call 708-448-5169 to schedule a consultation. Eileen will help you prepare the documents and create a detailed plan to ease the burden on your loved ones.