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How to Include Your Caregiver in Your Will

 Posted on February 22, 2017 in Estate Planning

Lombard estate planning attorneyAs you age, it is not unreasonable for your needs to change. Depending on your physical and mental health, you may require more personal and medical care than you once did. While your family members and loved ones may be willing to help, they may not always be equipped or able to do so. In such cases, you may need to depend upon a caregiver with whom you have no family or personal relationship—at least at the beginning. Over time, you may become very close with your caregiver, possibly even close enough to consider including him or her in your will.

Legal Protections

In 2015, Illinois lawmakers amended to the Illinois Probate Act to provide additional protections for those who are under the care of non-family caregivers. The amendment created the presumption that any transfer of property exceeding $20,000 to an unrelated caregiver is fraudulent if the transfer is challenged. According to the law, the presumption of fraud would invalidate the will or trust making such a transfer.

While this type of measure may seem overly harsh, it is well-intentioned. Caregivers often have direct access to a person whose age or health makes him or her particularly vulnerable. An unscrupulous caregiver could unduly influence the person into creating a new will or adding provisions that benefit the caregiver without the knowledge of other family members or would-be heirs.

Make Your Wishes Clear

Despite the amendments to the law, you still have the freedom to do what you please with your assets. If you have come to see your caregiver as part of your family, you can include him or her in your will or trust as you see fit. You will just need to take a little extra care in setting up the instrument of transfer. Doing so can allow your will to overcome the presumption of fraud in the event that it is challenged.

The easiest way you can clarify your desire to include your caregiver in your estate plan is by making your intentions known well in advance. You could sit down with your children or other family members to inform them of your decision—a conversation that may also include your estate planning lawyer. A clear, reasoned explanation of your choices can be used to demonstrate that your decision was not due to fraud, duress, or undue influence.

Estate Planning Guidance

If you are in the process of developing a will or have questions about any aspect of preparing for the future, contact an experienced Lombard estate planning lawyer. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today. We will work with you in creating an estate plan that meets your needs and protects your family for years to come.



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