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Estate planning: The often ignored but oh-so important process

Why do many people in Illinois and elsewhere shy away from discussions regarding their own mortality? No one can be certain; however, the fact that data shows many people never execute estate plans before they die emphasizes the fact that it's true. The estate planning process can be simple or complex. There's no shortage on stories where someone dies without leaving a final will and testament, wreaking havoc upon all heirs and beneficiaries.

Thus, a final will and testament is the most common estate planning instrument. It's also the most frequently used document to specifically state personal desires regarding how assets should be divided upon one's death. An estate owner needn't be wealthy in order to benefit from the estate planning process.

For someone concerned about whether his or her medical wishes will be honored, an advanced directive document may be just the ticket. Those with children may want to consider their options for naming guardians should anything happen that would cost the parents their lives or render them incapacitated. It's also best to keep in mind that appointees listed in a particular plan should definitely be contacted to double check that they still agree to provide the care and service they promised.

The estate planning and administration process can be a bit confusing at times. An experienced Illinois attorney can help clarify all the legal issues regarding the process as it unfolds in this state. Today's discussions can be tomorrow's asset security. To get the ball rolling on an estate plan, a request for consultation can be made with an attorney.

Source:, "Guest column: The importance of having an estate plan", Zachary F. Lam, Bray Creech, Jan. 21, 2018

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