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Estate planning: Issues for Illinois elders to consider

Many elders in Illinois and beyond are trying to live as high quality a life as possible, some despite increased health concerns. It is not uncommon, however, for older people to want to avoid considering the possibility that they might one day become incapacitated and unable to make financial or medical decisions on their own. At the same time, many elders do not like the idea of government intrusion regarding their private affairs or health care and financial decisions. This is one reason why estate planning is such a valuable tool.

While many older people try to avoid discussion about their own mortality, others understand the usefulness of estate planning. Especially in terms of being able to retain control of one's own assets, executing an estate plan allows the estate owner to choose who will make decisions and what will happen to his or her assets when the time comes. In fact, many elders who have signed estate planning documents say it gave them peace of mind and felt liberating to not have to worry about such issues anymore.

Elders considering executing estate plans will want to learn as much as possible ahead of time regarding the various types of documents that can be incorporated into a plan. It is also helpful to speak to an experienced attorney who is well-versed in estate planning issues because such an attorney can make recommendations as to which documents best fit a particular person's needs and ultimate estate planning goals. Every person's needs and desires are unique; one might want to sign a last will and testament while another is more concerned about setting up a living trust.

The estate planning process does not have to be undertaken all at once. In fact, it is advisable to periodically review a plan, in case changes or updates are needed. For instance, if there is a birth in a family or a divorce or death, it might prompt a need for updating an existing estate plan. Anyone in Illinois facing legal problems regarding a specific estate can request a meeting with an attorney who is experienced in this area of law.

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