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Leave Proper Documents For Your Loved Ones

Leave Proper Documents For Your Loved Ones

An old man in sickbed is signing on a document

In estate planning, the right end-of-life documents are the key to ensuring an individual’s needs and desires are followed after death. A will can help individuals protect against unwanted taxes or probate court concerns, and a trust can help add even more protection. By ensuring the proper documentation is in place early, Illinois residents can safeguard their families and their beneficiaries after death.

Lists Help Take Stock of Finances

First, individuals working on their estate plans should take stock of finances to determine what they need. Before starting the estate planning documents, individuals should write down their financial accounts. This includes credit cards, pensions, insurance policies, loan documents, bank accounts, and investments. By placing this list with other estate plan documents, individuals can show their survivors the details of their finances.

Power of Attorney Documents Delegate Responsibility

Another tool for people to consider is power of attorney documentation. An estate planning attorney can assist in creating these. A durable power of attorney document delegates a person to make financial decisions for someone in the event that they become incapacitated due to illness or incompetency.

A healthcare power of attorney names the person who will make healthcare-related decisions when someone no longer can due to illness or injury. Along with the healthcare power of attorney, people can create a living will or advance directive that states what type of care the individual wants when facing serious illness. Naming these power of attorney representatives and directing healthcare decisions in this way helps eliminate drama in families when someone can no longer make their own decisions.

Protections Against Probate

Probate court can be a long and tedious process that inhibits families from accessing their benefits after someone dies. Unfortunately, having a will alone does not protect a person’s estate from the probate courts and estate taxes. Some estate planning documents and tools can help prevent the estate from getting stuck in probate.

A living trust, for instance, places a person’s assets in a trust prior to death. When the owner of the trust dies, the trust maintains control of the assets and they can often skip probate. The trust and its assets transfer automatically to children or other heirs upon the person’s death, without probate. Working with an estate planning attorney who is well-versed in estate planning can help individuals think through all of these issues.

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