During the good times in their lives, estate-planning documents probably do not mean much to Illinois residents. In fact, they may not even give them a second thought. However, when they pass away, a few sheets of paper can make a tremendous difference in what happens next. In fact, there really is nothing “simple” about a last will and testament.
The importance of a will cannot be stressed enough. This one document means the difference between an individual deciding what happens to his or her estate and the state of Illinois doing so. If someone dies without a will, it results in someone else making the decisions that could affect a person’s family for years to come.
Moreover, it is not just about having the right to decide who gets what after his or her death. A will must also be drafted and executed in accordance with current laws. The person making the will must be able to do so in accordance with legal requirements such as having the mental capacity to understand the document and know what it means, signing it of his or her own free will and not being manipulated into doing so by someone else.
Even if the language in a particular will is simple, the document’s implications are not. Without this one document, many people’s final affairs would fall into the hands of the courts. Surviving family members could end up spending additional time, money and effort to close out an estate that could have been handled more efficiently with a will. Other estate planning documents often accompany this one document to make things even easier, but in the majority of cases, it does not take away from the importance of the will.