While end-of-life decisions are not always pleasant, they do need to be made, especially if there are dependents involved. U.S. News reports that around half of all American parents do not prepare a will, leaving their estate to be placed in intestate and subject to the individual state’s laws for distribution. While the reasons for why this happens may be unclear, there are obvious enticements for creating a will, especially for those left behind. If these guidelines are followed before meeting with an estate planning attorney in Illinois, the process can be faster, smoother and less stressful.
First, records of all property need to be gathered. This can include things not normally thought about, such as frozen embryos, vacation homes and digital assets. While it is important to be thorough, not all assets need to be listed. Those held jointly are passed to the surviving owner rather than distributed via the dying owner’s wishes.
Next, a beneficiary needs to be carefully chosen. This person has the power of overriding wills in some situations and may be entitled to care for any dependents. For this reason, it is important to thoughtfully consider who is the best option.
The American Bar Association also recommends that any anticipated inheritances or trusts be listed. People will likely want to decide where those go, even if they are unsure of what their value will be. This is something that can be determined before death to be sure that the dying person’s wishes are carried out.