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What happens if you die? The importance of wills

Talking about the possibility of dying is not exactly an enjoyable event, which is why creating a will is often placed on the back burner when it comes to tackling responsibilities. However, wills are powerful legal documents that clearly indicate what you desire to happen to all of you assets in Illinois after you die. These assets include both your property and your money.

Why a will?

A major benefit of creating a will is that it can help your surviving loved ones to avoid much of the time-consuming probate process. All estates have to go through probate whether they have wills or not. However, when a will is in place, this makes going through the process much faster, as the will clearly indicates to the court how your property should be divided. If there is no will, the court will have to determine how your estate will be divided.

Wills are also ideal for parents with young children, as you can include in your will who will take care of your children in the event of your death. If you die without creating a will, the court will decide which family member will assume responsibility for children, or the court might appoint another guardian of its choosing.

Who will be responsible for handling your financial affairs after your death?

Another major roll a will can play in ensuring your future wishes are granted is that you can choose who will wrap up your financial affairs, such as notifying your bank(s) of your death, cancelling your credit cards and paying off your bills. This person is considered the executor of your estate. Because this individual will play a major role in administering your estate, it is essential that you pick somebody who is trustworthy, honest and organized. This person may not actually be one of your family members.

Other benefits provided by a will

Wills also offer the benefit of allowing you to disinherit people who otherwise would inherit your assets following your death. For instance, with a will, you can keep your assets from ending up in the hands of a person whom you have divorced. Furthermore, you can make a gift or donation through your will, which makes it possible for your unique legacy to live on in Illinois. A knowledgeable attorney can walk you through the process of creating a will that will meet your and your loved ones' long-term needs.

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law