It is never too early to plan your estate. After all, you have worked hard and sacrificed to earn money throughout your career, and you have consulted with financial advisers to save and invest wisely. This has all been to take care of your family, maybe to put the children through college, and to enjoy a comfortable retirement. However, things don’t always go as planned.
If you happen to pass without creating a will, there is a real possibility that your estate will not be divided up the way you wanted and that there will be unnecessary chaos amongst your loved ones. When you die without a valid will, the Illinois legislature gives you a default will. Referred to as dying intestate, the Illinois Probate Act, dictates how your assets should be split up and who should receive priority. While this distribution may make sense in some scenarios, like where there are few assets and no children, it leaves a lot to be desired in other cases. The bottom line is that the law enacted by the state legislature in 1975 cannot possibly match the attention to detail or care that you have put into managing your assets and providing for your family’s future.
How Much Do You Trust Your Eighteen Year Old?
Even if the right people receive your estate, the logistics of how they receive the money can also create problems for your family. For example, if you have a spouse and children, then one half goes to your spouse and the other half is divided by your children. This can cause serious problems if your children are older than eighteen, because they get their entire share at once instead of the installments you would have preferred. Some of us don’t trust our kids with a credit card, let alone half of our lifetime’s assets in one setting. Something along the lines of a trust could allow your child to benefit over time with installments so they can mature before getting everything.
Some Other Implications
There are other major implications for your family and your estate if you have no will.
- If you have a will, you are able to designate your executor. This is a person who you trust to divide your estate in accordance with your wishes. With an intestate estate, it is a judge who will decide an administrator based on a preference system established by the legislature. Family members who you consider to be irresponsible may end up fighting in court for this role with the person you would have chosen to settle your estate.
- You know that valuable comic book you own where Iron Man first appeared? The one you always promised to your son who you read comics with? It is now up to a judge if your son receives it, or if someone else will get it. Or, the administrator of your estate may choose to sell this asset to pay off a debt. If you had a will, you could have specifically left Tales of Suspense #39 to your son.
- The intestacy laws do not account for the complex tax implications of your estate, where a will and proper estate planning can maximize the amount that your loved ones receive.
- Significantly, your will names a guardian for your minor children in the scenario that the children’s other parent is also deceased. Why leave the care and control of your children up for litigation?
Let me assist you in navigating the intricacies of planning your estate. I have decades of experience in assisting clients with estate planning, tax law, and family law. Let my knowledge and experience be an asset to you. My team and I will bring a compassionate and thorough examination of your estate and your goals to help you develop a plan that allows you to rest easy, knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of. Call the Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 to schedule a consultation today. You can also visit our website to set up a consultation online.