Estate Planning And Probate FAQ

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Take A Moment To Learn About Estate Plans And Probate

It is never pleasant to think about your future death or the death of a loved one. However, it is important for every adult to address these inevitable events.

One of the best ways to plan for the future is to ask your questions about estate planning and probate to a lawyer. We at McCarthy & Allen are here for you. With years of experience, we have helped Illinois clients create their estate plans and navigate the probating of their loved ones’ estates. Here, we have created a frequently asked questions page to answer some of the queries we often receive from our clients.

Why should I make an estate plan now?

Every adult needs an estate plan in case an unpredictable catastrophe happens. Anyone can fall ill or suffer an accident. By creating documents like a will, power of attorney and health care proxy, you can feel assured that a plan is in place if disaster strikes.

How often should I update my estate plan?

You should revisit your estate planning documents every few years or after any major life change, including the birth of a child or a divorce. This ensures that your will includes the right beneficiaries. It also gives power to someone you trust to make decisions for you if you lose your mental or physical capacity.

What happens during probate?

Probate, or the court-supervised process of settling an estate, is filled with many steps. The major ones include:

  1. Validating a will
  2. Naming a personal representative, if necessary
  3. Paying the decedent’s bills and debts
  4. Locating beneficiaries
  5. Distributing assets to beneficiaries

The probate process generally takes a few months. In some rare cases, it may take one or more years.

How can I avoid probate?

Not all estates require probate. Small estates with less than $100,000 in assets typically do not need to go through probate. You can also use certain tools to avoid probate, such as:

  • Living trusts
  • Transfer-on-death accounts
  • Transfer-on-death deeds
  • Joint ownership of assets

It is not always possible to avoid probate once someone has already passed away. Fortunately, you can use these tools proactively to make sure that your loved ones do not have to navigate probate after you die.

Do I really need an attorney?

The internet offers plenty of free options to create your own estate plan. Most courts, however, will not uphold these documents. You should always work with a lawyer to make legally sound wills, name powers of attorney and more.

You will also need a knowledgeable guide for Illinois probate law. Your attorney will make sure that you complete every step correctly and that the process flows as smoothly for you and your family as possible.

Learn More From A Lawyer

If you live in the Glen Carbon metro area, our team can provide every piece of information that you need regarding estate planning and probate. Reach out to us for an initial consultation in which we can talk further. To contact us, send us an email or call 618-307-4099. You can also call us toll-free at 888-847-9322.