When the average person thinks about the concept of estate planning, they tend to think about wills, trust funds, inheritances, and other methods for passing assets down to the next generation. While these images are not really incorrect, they do not tell the whole estate planning story. In fact, there are many good reasons to create an estate plan that have almost nothing to do with possessions or money. With this in mind, estate planning is an important consideration for any family, regardless of their wealth or overall net worth.
Reason 1: Privacy Considerations
Unless you plan ahead, Illinois law will likely require your estate to go through probate. Probate is the legal process through which an estate is settled when there are no alternative plans for doing so, and the process can be unpredictable, time-consuming, and cumbersome. You should also know that probate proceedings are usually matters of public record, which means that your affairs are available to be reviewed by the public at large. Through estate planning, you can minimize the effects of probate or even avoid it completely, thereby keeping your family’s personal matters private.
Reason 2: Minor Children
If something were to happen to you tomorrow, who would care for your children? If you answered, “My spouse,” let’s take the hypothetical situation a step further. If something were to happen to you AND your spouse tomorrow, who would care for your children? While you might have an idea regarding which family members might step up to help, it is important to have plans for your children’s care recorded in your estate plan.
Reason 3: Your Health
You have the right to decide what type of health care you receive, even if you can no longer express your wishes or make decisions for yourself. Through estate planning tools such as a living will or a power of attorney for health care, you make health and medical-related decisions in advance to be carried out by a trusted individual. Such plans can also reduce confusion and ease the pressure on your family during a challenging time.
Reason 4: Keeping the Family Close
This point is the only one that is related to money, but it is only an indirect relationship. Following your death, will your family be capable of making decisions about your property and assets without fighting? Without an estate plan, your loved ones may be forced to make difficult decisions while they are still processing your death and managing their grief. This can lead to contentious arguments, which can result in many years of separation and resentment. While there is no way to completely stop all family disagreements after your death, a solid estate plan can put the most controversial matters to rest before they become real problems.
Contact a DuPage County Wills and Trusts Lawyer
At A. Traub & Associates, our dedicated Lombard estate planning lawyers have many years of experience in helping clients develop comprehensive estate plans. Let us put our proven approach to work for you. To get started, call 630-426-0196 and schedule an appointment with a member of our team today.