A common understanding regarding wills is that they only serve to divide property, assets, finances and debts after someone has passed on. Wills, however, aren’t limited to that definition and have the potential to protect loved ones’ futures in numerous ways.
The Role of a Will in Decision-Making Beyond finances and property, wills serve as a basis for multiple important decisions:
- Identifying an estate-administration executor, which is an important step in bypassing court involvement in estate and property settlements.
- Identifying legal guardians for dependents and minors, thereby minimizing court involvement in custody matters.
- Specifying healthcare-related actions, should mental incapacitation preclude decision making by the testator.
- Property-ownership transference to parties that would normally be excluded by intestate succession laws, including charities, friends or stepchildren.
Types of Wills
It’s important to understand that wills come in a variety of types, each type devoted to a range of purposes. Certain will types also don’t hold up as well after the individual has passed. The following is a list of will types. Consultation with a Deerfield wills lawyer will provide further clarification.
- Living Wills – Rather than solely dealing with the terms of an estate’s division, living wills also outline decisions and guidelines regarding healthcare and life support in the case of incapacitation.
- Oral Wills – While recognized as last wishes spoken before witnesses, oral wills nevertheless don’t receive the legal recognition typically given to other will types.
- Holographic Wills – Holographic wills are very weak and are therefore to be avoided. They’re created without witnesses and often don’t hold up in a court setting.
- Testamentary or Self-Proving Wills – These documents fit the commonly recognized concept of a will. Their preparation involves the assistance of legal counsel along with the observation and signatures of witnesses. Consultation with a Deerfield wills lawyer will ensure proper preparation.
What Happens In the Absence of a Will?
Without a will, the properties of an individual who has passed become the charge of the state according to intestate succession regulations and laws. These laws vary per state. In the state of Illinois, however, an absence of terms set by the deceased leaves the state with no option but to follow legal guidelines in the division of properties and assets.
Why Wills Are Important to the Estate’s and Family’s Future?
The objective of intestate succession laws is the distribution of property among the family of a deceased person. In the absence of children or a spouse, property distribution goes to extended family members.
An inherent problem in distribution according to state guidelines and laws, however, is that these guidelines may diverge from the last wishes and intent of the deceased. The disparity could result in unintended hardship or difficulties for those that could benefit from a part of the estate’s allocation.
Wills serve as a means to ensure that estate distribution goes to intended recipients and that the estate continues to provide for the family even after passing.
Reach the Will and Trust Attorneys at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Schedule a free initial will-creation consultation in Cook or Lake Counties and guard the future of loved ones by calling 847-325-5559 or by visiting https://orlowskywilson.com/ today.
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