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Understand the will requirements in Illinois

Adults often think they have everything in order for life’s necessary tasks. One thing that you might not be prepared for is what will happen to your estate when you pass away. Even though you might want to put this out of your mind, you need to get an estate plan created while you can still legally do this.

Illinois has specific regulations that govern wills, so you have to ensure that yours complies. If your will doesn’t, or if you don’t write one, your loved ones will have to deal with the state’s intestate laws. These dictate who will get what, and nothing that has to do with your wishes are considered.

You must meet legal qualifications

In order to create a will in this state, you must be at least 18 years old. The second requirement is that you are of sound memory and mind. In a nutshell, you must know what your actions in the will are going to do with your assets for your beneficiaries.

As you probably realize, adults might face a mental decline as they age. Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can affect an individual’s ability to write a will. Once a person is stricken with these conditions, they are likely unable to have the presence of mind required by law to create a will. This is a good reason for all adults to take care of their estate plans now before their conditions preclude them from doing so later.

You need witnesses

You must have two people witness the will who are willing to attest that it is your will and that it conveys your wishes. When they sign, they are also agreeing that you met the qualifications to have a legal will. These two individuals don’t need to sign in the presence of each other. It is a good idea for you to choose witnesses that aren’t included in the will so that nobody can say that they only signed in exchange for getting something.

Your will must be clearly documented

Illinois doesn’t recognize oral wills or handwritten wills. You need to have your will typed out in accordance with the state’s laws. Once you have it done, don’t forget about it. Review it at least annually, or more often if your have major life changes like a marriage or divorce, so that you can ensure it still conveys your wishes.