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Use estate planning to make things easier on the family

Most Illinois residents want to make sure their family members do not have to go through anything unnecessary in order to take care of them both before and after death. Estate planning can help make sure that does not happen. Without the proper documentation in place, the state decides where assets go upon death and/or family members must go to court to determine how to handle certain issues.

For instance, an Illinois health care power of attorney appoints a trusted individual to make decisions regarding the maker's medical care if he or she subsequently becomes incapacitated due to an illness or injury. In addition, executing a living will, or advance directive, at the same time may make that person's wishes known not only to his or her agent in the power of attorney, but also to doctors in charge of the care. Otherwise, family members may end up in court regarding how to proceed.

A will allows an individual to decide where his or her assets go after death. It also provides for the care of any minor children through the appointment of a guardian. A trusted individual may make sure that the individual's wishes are carried out by acting as executor. All of these decisions end up relegated to the state, and perhaps, fought over by family members in court without at least a last will and testament.

When considering just these two documents, it may become apparent why every adult whether here in Illinois or elsewhere needs to engage in some estate planning. Leaving these types of decisions to grieving and hurting family members and the state places a large burden on those a person cares for and loves. Having a plan in place provides peace of mind to everyone that most of the decisions are already made and no one has to scramble during such a difficult time.

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