Bassett Law Office, P.C.
Offering exceptional client service in Wood River, Illinois.
Toll-Free : 866-670-1382 Phone : 618-216-5217

Madison County Illinois Estate Planning Blog

Why do I need a health care power of attorney?

So you drafted your will and funded a small trust for the grandkids' college expenses. You are relieved that your estate planning duties are now complete. But not so fast! You forgot one very important document.

No estate plan is complete without a signed heath care power of attorney on file. Sometimes referred to as a health care proxy, these documents appoint an individual who can act in your stead and make decisions about the type of health care and resuscitative efforts you will receive after you become incapacitated and can no longer make those decisions on your own.

Adults over 50 should have medical care plans in place

Around 45 percent of people who are 55 or older don't have an estate plan in place. This puts their family members in a precarious position because they might not know what their loved one wants. Instead of leaving their final days and the disposition of their assets to chance, all Americans in this age group should take the time to create an estate plan.

When you don't have an estate plan in place, a few things happen. You won't have any say in what happens with your health care or finances in your final days. You also won't be able to decide who is going to get your assets when you pass away. As a general guideline, adults should have a plan for all of this in place by the time they are 50 years old.

3 reasons to work with an estate-planning attorney

You have probably heard that it is possible to plan your own estate using will kits or other do-it-yourself techniques. The truth is that it is possible to establish your estate and to maintain it that way, but the likelihood is that there will be mistakes and that there is a possibility that your estate and will won't hold up in court.

When you spend time, energy and money on an estate, you don't want to have to worry about its legality. By hiring an estate attorney, you can make sure that your will and estate follow the laws in Illinois and are corrected for your current situation.

The majority of Americans don't even have a will

A will is the most basic part of any estate plan. It forms the foundation of that plan, dividing assets and leaving them to specific heirs. It should, theoretically, get coupled with things like a legal power of attorney, an advance directive and a medical power of attorney.

As important as it is, most people do not have a will. Reports show that about 60 percent of people in the United States have failed to draft one.

If you have children, you need to consider estate planning now

Far too many people put off estate planning until they have to confront a reminder of their own mortality. Whether it is the death of a parent or a major medical event, it can take dramatic life experiences to inspire most people to plan for the end of their life. Some people end up waiting too long and actually die without having a last will in place.

If you have children, you do not have the luxury of delaying this critical planning. The safety of your children, as well as their financial future, depends on your ability to plan for a worst-case scenario and keep them safe. The sooner you tackle important estate planning concerns, the more secure your family will be.

Why you should avoid do-it-yourself wills

When it is time to draft your will, you might be tempted to just grab a do-it-yourself kit and try to handle things at home. This usually isn't a good idea because it is difficult to condense complex estate planning objectives into a simple document like the ones offered in the kits. There is a chance that your DIY attempt might end up causing you a lot of stress. Ultimately, your will might not achieveo what you want it to accomplish.

You may think that any will is better than no will, but you should consider what might happen if someone contests your DIY will. Is it going to stand up to the challenge? Does it leave room for question about your intent?

These areas are priorities for your estate plan

Your estate plan is a multifaceted tool that helps your loved ones distribute your assets when you are gone, but there is much more to this tool than that. You can also let your loved ones know what you want in your final days if you can't speak up for yourself.

When you are getting your estate plan together, you must be ready to do more than create a will. Here are some of the other things to think about when you are preparing for the process:

What does an executor do?

There are sometimes several people involved with the creation of a will: The deceased, their attorney, their family members, and their friends or other loved ones. All of these people can contribute to making the will a relevant, legally enforceable document. Often, one of these people will play another very important role-- as the executor. 

Before making a will, many people are not aware of the necessity of an executor. But as you proceed with the estate planning process, you will find out just how important the executor can be for an estate. Here, we will discuss what you should know about executors of the will.

Why you don't want a will kit

There's nothing more frustrating than having something completed, only to find out it was done wrong when it's too late to fix it. Imagine the severity if it's your last will and testament.

While Illinois recognizes many wills--including some in rather simple forms--the requirements are still very strict. Do-it-yourself "will kits" and online forms have become common as the internet has grown. Any estate plan is subject to probate and the state's meticulous regulation. If you fill out a "will kit" wrong, your will is either invalid or it may benefit the wrong people.

Living wills and health care power of attorney

Most people want to know that they will be taken care of if they are injured, but they also tend to have a preference for how they are treated. In many cases, people are able to communicate their wishes on their own, but what happens if they are not able to do so?

There are legal arrangements that allow people to specify exactly how they want to be cared for (or not cared for) in the event they are for some reason made incapable of communicating their health care preferences on their own. However, even if they have specified how they want to be cared for, someone still has to be responsible for making those wishes are carried out properly.

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Bassett Law Office PC
16 W. Lorena Avenue
Wood River, IL 62095

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Toll Free: 866-670-1382
Phone: 618-216-5217
Fax: 618-254-0144