Estate planning in St. Clair County, Illinois is simply the act of deciding what you want to happen to your assets after your death. It normally entails making plans about funeral arrangements, as well as plans for end of life care.
While the drafting of a will (the document that dictates what is to be done with the decedent's property after death) is normally the central component of any estate plan, there are various other elements which you may want to include, depending on your goals, and your financial situation.
A will is rarely the only aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. Most individuals have extremely 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.
If you have young children, it is absolutely crucial that you make arrangements for their care, as well as their custody. Obviously, if you want someone specific to take custody of them in the event something happens, you need to discuss the matter with them, to ensure that they are actually able and willing to care for them.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in St. Clair County, Illinois?
This normally depends on your individual goals and priorities, your age, health, and the nature and quantity of your assets.
Unmarried young adults typically don't think much about estate planning. In most cases, this is fine. Unless you are very sick or have an unusually large amount of assets, estate planning is not something to really worry about at this point in your life.
There is one group of unmarried people for whom estate planning in St. Clair County, Illinois is absolutely essential: adults who are not married, but have a life partner who they'd like to provide for in the event of death. There are many rights that automatically attach with marriage, such as the right to inherit if a spouse dies without a will, the right to make medical decisions for the other spouse if they become incapacitated, etc. If you and your partner are, for whatever reason, unable or unwilling to get married, you will have to take many steps to secure these rights, such as authorizing power of attorney, and writing them into your will.
If you are elderly, and have a massive amount of assets in St. Clair County, Illinois, estate planning may be more important 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 essential 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 St. Clair County, Illinois Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a difficult process, the expertise of a good lawyer in St. Clair County, Illinois who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.