Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning in Illinois
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The goal of estate planning is to give your property and assets to the people you want and to make the process as painless as possible for your family after your death. You want to protect what you have earned and built over your lifetime so that it can be enjoyed by your children or other heirs. You also want to have a plan in place if you have young children who need to be cared for.
We believe you should seek out an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney to help you meet your goals, even if your situation seems straightforward. Someone who knows the law and has seen it work in countless other cases can share all of that experience and advice, a making your estate plan more clear and more likely to be successful. We only recommend estate planning attorneys who are known for their excellent work for clients in this area.
We are a referral service, run by lawyers. When you call us, our job is to answer your questions and help you find an estate planning attorney who meets your needs. Here are some questions we frequently hear:
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer to write a will?
The cost of estate planning depends on a few factors, such as where you live and how complex of a plan you require. A general range is $500-$2000. A brief phone call with an experienced estate planning attorney can tell you more.
Are online wills trustworthy?
Estate planning can be complicated. One reason is because of the number of things you can do with a will and trust. Another reason is because families are complicated. A one-size-fits-all form that you find online might not do what you think it’s going to do. You should explore all of your options with an experienced estate planning who can tailor your plan to your exact situation. We don’t recommend using an online will site.
Can I change my will?
You can change the details of a will at any time as long as you are mentally competent.
How many witnesses are needed for an Illinois will to be valid?
In Illinois you need at least two witnesses to your signature of affirmation of the will, although it is a good idea to have more than two in case one of the witnesses passes away before you do or in case there are any will challenges.
What is a special needs trust?
It allows someone with a disability to have money for their own use and still be eligible for government benefits. For example, if a parent wants to leave money to a disabled child, it could jeopardize their public benefits. If they put the inheritance into a special needs trust, it doesn’t count for eligibility purposes. There are some restrictions on how the money can be used, but in general it’s considered a good option for this type of situation.
Does having a will avoid court?
No. A will must be filed with the court within a month of someone’s death, and the probate process follows, in most cases. When a will goes through probate, it legally removes the deceased’s name from the title of an asset (such as real estate) and replaces it with the new owner’s name. So unless you own your assets jointly with a right of survivorship, meaning it goes directly to the other person upon your death, those assets will go through this legal process.
Our service is free, and we have helped thousands of people find estate planning attorneys in Illinois. If you have any questions about how to get started, or if you’d simply like a referral to an experienced Illinois wills lawyer please do not hesitate to contact us. We only recommend attorneys we’d use ourselves if we were in your shoes. Give us a call, or send us an email and we’ll call you.