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Estate planning tips Illinois residents should keep in mind

Some people simply do not like to discuss their own mortality. Others see it as just a part of life. Whichever side of the topic a person's opinions fall on, one thing in life is certain -- everyone dies at some point. Illinois residents who want to protect their assets and do what they can for their loved ones may consider estate planning a valuable tool that allows them to make decisions and leave instructions that will be carried out after they're gone.

The easiest way to begin to plan an estate is to take stock of all existing assets. Many people discover that they own more than they thought. It is important to list both tangible and intangible assets when taking inventory, the latter being things such as bank accounts, life insurance policies or mutual funds, and the former being things like homes, valuable collections or real estate.

Beyond compiling a list of assets, however, there are several other important issues to consider when executing an estate plan. One is that estate owners who are parents will want to designate guardians for their children should both parents die. A designated guardian agrees to oversee the welfare of the children and to tend to their financial needs as well.

Appointing a power of attorney or writing an advance care directive are also important estate planning topics. Some estate plans are more complex than others. An experienced Illinois attorney can make recommendations as to which documents to include in a particular plan to fit one's needs and ultimate estate plan goals.

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