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Filling the Gaps in Your Illinois Estate Plan

 Posted on April 19, 2021 in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning lawyerIf you have already created a will, you should be happy to count yourself among the majority of Americans in certain age groups who have done so as well. According to AARP, almost 70 percent of individuals aged 65 years and older have prepared a will, as have just under 60 percent of people ranging from 50 to 64 years old. Like you, these testators appreciate having more control over their final affairs and the Illinois estate administration process, as well as knowing their assets are better prepared to make it to the hands of their intended beneficiaries.

However, there is much more to estate planning than just a will. Without other critical documents, there could be substantial gaps in your estate plan. As such, it is wise to talk to an estate planning attorney about other arrangements outside of your will, such as:

Health-Related Advance Directives

Some of the most critical estate planning documents provide advantages before your passing. Illinois allows for different kinds of advance directives, which provide instructions on how to handle your health care and medical needs if you become incapacitated. These include:

  • Power of attorney for health care, in which you appoint a trusted person to make medical decisions on your behalf

  • A living will that informs health care providers of the kinds of treatment you want after your incapacitation

  • A do-not-resuscitate order, which provides information to health care providers about your wishes for CPR and other life-sustaining treatment

  • A mental health treatment preference statement that allows you to specify whether you want certain types of treatment or medications for a mental condition

Power of Attorney for Property

Aside from your health care, management of your real estate and personal property may become an issue if you are incapacitated. When your loved ones’ names do not appear on ownership documentation, their hands are tied in terms of being able to preserve your assets. By executing a power of attorney for property, you can appoint an agent who has the same authority as you with respect to:

  • Your home and other real estate interests

  • Bank accounts

  • Other personal property

  • Obligations to creditors

  • Homeowner, auto, business, and other insurance

  • Interests in a business

Consequences of Gaps in Estate Planning

If you do not have a health care advance directive or power of attorney for property, your loved ones may have to consider the option of guardianship for managing your assets and medical needs. The legal process of appointing someone to act on your behalf can take weeks, during which time your health may suffer and your assets may go to waste.

Contact Our DuPage County, IL Estate Planning Lawyers

While your will plays an important role in expressing your last wishes and final affairs, a comprehensive estate plan should include additional documents to avoid disastrous gaps. Our team at A. Traub & Associates can help with a plan that is personalized for your unique circumstances. Contact us at 630-426-0196 to set up a consultation with a skilled Wheaton estate planning attorney to discuss your goals and needs.


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