Many Illinois residents are not married and do not have children. This may make them believe that they have no need for estate planning. In reality, it could be argued that single people actually need it more than others do.
Those Illinois residents who take the time to make sure their families are provided for after death should be applauded. A disproportionate amount of people still do not have estate plans, which leaves their surviving loved ones to face a potentially arduous probate process. Unfortunately, not assessing all of the risk associated with an estate plan could do the same thing.
Those Illinois residents who took the time to ensure their loved ones are taken care of after their death probably put the documents away believing that they have done what they needed to do to achieve that goal. They probably created an estate plan that fit the circumstances of the time, and while that was a good step, the plan may not stand the test of time. Life rarely remains the same over the years, and an estate plan needs to change with it.
Many Illinois young people begin their adult lives in college. They feel as though their whole lives are ahead of them and that they have plenty of time to worry about "adult" issues. What they do not realize is that no one knows whether they will end up suffering from serious injuries, a serious illness or even death at any point. For this reason, college students tend not to consider the fact that estate planning should be a priority for them as well.
Most Illinois residents know they need to prepare for the future. They understand that they could suffer an injury or illness that could incapacitate or even kill them, but few people actually want to sit down and contemplate these events long enough to prepare for incapacitation and estate administration. For those who come to the conclusion that it is a necessary evil, it may help to have some direction regarding how to structure a plan.
Most Illinois residents strive to be as fair as possible when it comes to distributing their property after death. They want to take care of their families while making estate administration as smooth and simple as possible. One of the decisions to be made involves how heirs and beneficiaries inherit those assets.
During a divorce, Illinois residents have a multitude of issues to deal with before the process is complete. Many people think that once the divorce settlement is signed, their work is done and they can move on with their lives. Sadly, many forget another important task that requires their attention now that their marriages have ended -- estate planning, especially if there are children involved.
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 average age of the population of this country continues to rise. Even as the number of so-called "gray divorces" continues to rise, many couples here in Illinois and elsewhere remain together well into their golden years. Sadly, not enough of them engage in the type of estate planning that will adequately care for the surviving spouse upon death.
Most Illinois residents may already be aware that in August, the world lost a music legend when the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, died at the age of 76. Even though other celebrities recently died without an estate plan, it is still surprising that Franklin died without even a will. That means that her approximately $80 million estate will need to go through probate as an intestate estate, which in this case, will probably be time-consuming and certainly expensive.