Writing a will helps ensure that someone’s wishes are carried out after the person’s passing. The chances of probate moving swiftly in Illinois may increase when the decedent crafted a properly composed will with an attorney’s assistance. However, it’s important to be mindful that a will does not provide a blanket source to cover all concerns. In some cases, the directions in a will won’t apply.
For example, if the deceased person held a joint bank account with someone or named an individual a beneficiary in an IRA or brokerage account, the joint holder and the beneficiary would receive the funds upon the person’s passing. Even if the will states that everything is left to a particular relative, the relative would have no claim on the joint or beneficiary-designated assets. Such assets pass outside of probate.
It may be prudent to review beneficiaries listed on an account to make sure such indicators represent current wishes. Some may choose to make individually held accounts into joint ones or name beneficiaries to accounts without them. Eliminating probate may be preferable for a particular person’s estate plan.
Due to age, illness or other reasons, someone may choose to let another individual handle all their affairs. Drawing up power of attorney papers cedes authority to someone else. The person could access accounts, file taxes and borrow money in the other person’s name. Anyone granted POA should be trustworthy. Also, POA ends when the person naming the authority dies.
Crafting a living will may be advisable. This document explains someone’s wishes if he or she suffers from a severe illness or incapacitation. Perhaps the person does not wish to be kept on life support, for example.
An attorney may draw up the documents that a client requests. Wills, living wills and other estate planning documents might be drafted with an attorney. An attorney may also act as a witness if a will gets contested. The attorney might testify in court to explain the deceased client’s wishes.