Many Illinois residents avoid discussions about mortality, which is not atypical, as most people would rather think of something other than the fact that they are going to die someday. However, executing a solid estate plan while you're of sound mind can have many benefits. One of the most important things you can do by planning ahead is help your heirs and beneficiaries avoid probate trouble.
A retired school teacher in another state who is now deceased was married to a scientist (also now deceased) who pioneered studies of cloning. Following her husband's successful and prestigious scientific career, the former teacher's estate was worth more than $5 million when she died. The woman's heirs and beneficiaries are now battling, not only over her estate but also over her actual death.
When an Illinois estate owner executes a final will and testament, updates and changes can be made as needed, provided the estate owner is of sound mind and wishes to do so. Once he or she passes from this life, however, the terms of the final will and testament, as written before death, must be carried out. If heirs and beneficiaries disagree, things can get quite complicated.
Soul music icon James Brown entertained rock and roll music fans in Illinois and throughout the nation for decades. At the age of 73, the "Godfather of Soul" passed away in 2006. Since then, those who believe themselves to be his lawful heirs and beneficiaries have been engaged in a contentious battle in probate court. The situation has only escalated in the past 12 years, and several cases are now headed for federal court.
Illinois estate owners, in particular those who are parents, have no way of knowing how their loved ones will act once they die. While no one wants to think that his or her heirs and beneficiaries will fight over the belongings the estate owner leaves behind, it occurs far more often than might be expected and can lead to permanent rifts between family members. There are several ways to help loved ones avoid such problems, however.
Soul music fans in Illinois and throughout the world are mourning the recent passing of Aretha Franklin. Her music topped the charts for years and continues to touch the hearts of millions. Franklin died at age 76, after battling pancreatic cancer. As often happens in situations where people do not execute last wills before they die, Franklin's potential heirs and beneficiaries may face complications.
When an Illinois resident executes an estate plan, he or she may include numerous documents and designate various people to fulfill crucial roles. For instance, children, grandchildren, spouses or others may be named as heirs and beneficiaries. While it sounds simple enough, you might be surprised how common it is for feuds to arise regarding a parent's or other loved one's last will and testament.
Many Illinois estate owners have made plans to protect their assets and provide for their loved ones' financial security when the time comes to administer their estates. Written terms are critically important regarding a given estate plan. Equally or, perhaps even more important is making sure that all those who are named as heirs and beneficiaries understand their roles and the terms as they are written.
Baby boomers and older Illinois residents are among those most likely to remember news headlines and horrendous crimes involving Charles Manson. Manson was seen as a prophet among those colloquially known as The Manson Family and had spent the majority of his adult life serving multiple life sentences in prison, for masterminding the murders of a pregnant actress, Sharon Tate, and eight other people in the late 1960s. He was still behind bars when he died in 2017, and his heirs and beneficiaries have been fighting over his remains and his estate, ever since.
James F. Cotter died in 2017. Known for his real estate empire and cowboy lifestyle, he suffered a cardiac arrest, leaving behind five children and a wife. Cotter's heirs and beneficiaries are in the midst of an acrimonious legal battle over his estate.