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Letting loved ones know how estate administration should happen

Illinois residents know that they have the right to choose what happens to their assets after they pass away, but far too few people actually take advantage of this right. An estate plan allows them to let their loved ones know how they expect estate administration to go. Otherwise, it will be up to the state and the courts.

Maintaining that control may be attractive to many Illinois residents, but they may not be clear on where to start. Before doing anything else, it may be useful to figure out exactly what they are worth. Taking an inventory of assets, including real estate, personal property and accounts helps to create a clear picture. Thereafter, creating an estate plan that distributes those assets in accordance with their wishes can be done.

Of course, not everyone will agree with the results. This may make it a good idea to spell it out in a letter that can be kept with a will. If potentially surviving family members and other loved ones hear it from the "horse's mouth," so to speak, it may help reduce or eliminate the potential for disputes and challenges to the documents. The last thing most people would want is to see their estate's dwindle needlessly due to misunderstandings and disputes that could be resolved ahead of time.

For those who have a picture of how estate administration should go in their case, it may help to have advice and assistance in making that vision a reality. Between the legalities and the different ways to create an estate plan, attempting to go it alone could be problematic. In addition, any mistakes could end up pitting loved ones against each other in court.

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