In Cook County, Illinois, "estate planning" refers to the process by which a person makes arrangements related to their property after their death. It can (and should) also include personal issues that might come up immediately before and after a person's death.
The creation of a will (the document laying out what is to be done with your property after your death) is an essential element of an estate plan, but it is usually not the only element. There are many other essential things that most estate plans should include.
A will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most people have very strong preferences about their end-of-life care, particularly when, and under what circumstances, they would want to be taken off life support, if that every happens. These wishes should be made in writing, and discussed with family. Furthermore, preferences on organ donation and funeral arrangements should also be made clear.
Crucially, your plan should make arrangements for the care and custody of your children, if they are minors. Nonetheless you should initially discuss this matter with the person who you intend to take custody of your children in case something happens to you, to make sure they are willing and able to do so.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Cook County, Illinois?
The answer to this question varies largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
For example, if you're unmarried, and in your early 20's, estate planning is probably not the most essential thing in your life. However, if you're seriously ill, and/or unusually wealthy, estate planning might be a priority for you.
If you're not married in Cook County, Illinois, but have a life partner, estate planning is essential. If you want your partner to be treated as your spouse, your estate plan should make arrangements to give him or her power of attorney in the event that you become incapacitated. Furthermore, your will should precisely name your partner as a beneficiary, if you want them to inherit any of your assets.
If you are elderly, and have a large amount of assets in Cook County, Illinois, estate planning may be more essential at this stage of your life than any other. While estate planning deals with some morbid and unpleasant subjects (requiring us to confront the reality of our own mortality), it is crucial if you wish to live your life secure in the knowledge that your loved ones will be provided for to the extent that your assets allow.
Do I Need a Cook County, Illinois Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning in Cook County, Illinois is not always simple, the assistance of a reputable attorney will almost certainly be useful, and worth the cost. This is doubly true because of how critical the issues involved can be, and the fact that a relatively minor mistake can sometimes derail an entire estate plan.