For many people, the thought of talking about wills and estate planning is something they would rather put off. While confronting your own mortality may seem grim, it can provide you the assurance of knowing the people you care about are provided for in the event anything happens to you. Regardless of your earnings, the amount in your bank account, or whether you own property, the following are four estate planning tasks everyone should complete, and the sooner you do it, the better.
A will is something everyone should have, even if their ‘estate’ consists of little more than their car, the contents of their checking account, and some personal belongings. Under the Illinois Probate Act of 1975, if you pass away without a valid and properly executed will in place, your estate will be settled by the Probate Court and will be subject to the rules of intestate succession. This determines who has the right to inherit property, and while it does include spouses, children, parents, and siblings, proceedings can be time consuming and costly.
In the event of a major illness or accident, your financial power of attorney authorizes a person you name to conduct business on your behalf. This includes accessing savings or checking accounts, paying your mortgage, medical expenses, and other bills, managing any property or businesses you own, and other tasks related to your finances.
Similar to a financial POA, a healthcare power of attorney grants authority to someone you name to make healthcare decisions on your behalf. With both types of POA, the person you select should have the ability to complete any tasks required, and you should take the time to instruct them as to your wishes prior to granting them this responsibility.
Establishing your checking and savings accounts as POD means that a person you select will have access to these funds in the event of your passing. The process is as simple as going to your financial institution and filling out a few forms, but it will prevent these accounts from being withheld until proceedings in the Probate Court are resolved, while ensuring your survivors have money to pay for any final expenses.
The above are basic tasks to ensure you and your loved ones are protected. For professional legal guidance in creating wills, POAs, and other estate planning documents, call or contact Sabuco, Beck, Hansen, Massino, & Pollack, P.C. online today.
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