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Lombard estate planning lawyerWith coronavirus hitting the United States hard, many people are realizing the importance of estate planning. Not only are people worried about their financial future, but they are also concerned about what would happen if they became gravely ill from COVID-19. Luckily, Governor Pritzker determined at the beginning of the pandemic that legal services were still an essential business in Illinois. There is no better time to consider what will happen to your assets after death. Moreover, it is extremely important to get your affairs in order so that your children and grandchildren are properly taken care of.

What Happens to the Home?

Having a will and testament is not enough to keep your property out of probate, which is a long and costly process. Furthermore, if you do not designate beneficiaries and complete the proper legal paperwork to transfer your property after your death, it is possible that any family members who live with you could lose their home. One way to ensure your family stays in your home after your death is by setting up a transfer on death instrument which allows you to designate a beneficiary who will receive interest on the property and avoid probate. Other options include creating a living trust, joint tenancy, or life estate. A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can guide you through which option is best for you and your family.

Thinking About Your Medical Care

At the beginning of the pandemic many patients who were seriously ill were being sedated and put on ventilators to help their breathing. At this point, patients are no longer coherent to make their own medical decisions. According to NextGen Wealth, 80 percent of terminally ill patients do not want to receive intensive care at the end of their lives, yet fewer than 50 percent of terminally ill patients have an advanced care directive that would prevent them from receiving such unwanted care. Other documents that help determine what medical care you will receive include a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) form and a HIPAA authorization form. Designating a medical power of attorney allows another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself.

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DuPage County estate planning attorneyOnly about four out of ten adults have any type of estate plan in place. Misunderstandings about the purpose of estate planning and fears about confronting one’s own mortality are two of the main reasons that people neglect this important responsibility. People also put off estate planning because they are overwhelmed and do not know where to begin.

If you are ready to get started on your estate plans, consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. A lawyer will help you determine what types of estate planning tools will best accomplish your goals. He or she can also ensure that your estate plans do not contain mistakes that could invalidate the decisions you have made.

Planning for Future Disability or Incapacitation

Of the people who do create estate plans, many draft a will and little else. A will is a crucial estate planning tool that allows you to direct how your assets are passed down to heirs upon your death, but it is not the only estate planning tool worth utilizing. You must also consider what will happen if you become seriously ill or injured and are unable to speak for yourself. A medical power of attorney allows you to choose a representative to speak on your behalf about medical decisions if you are incapacitated and cannot express these medical wishes. A financial power of attorney allows you to appoint a representative to manage your finances if you cannot do so yourself. A living will allows you to choose in advance what types of end-of-life care you would and would not want if you could not express it. You can choose whether or not doctors should use mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, CPR, and other medical procedures to delay your death.

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Lombard estate planning attorneysYour family should not need to worry about your finances and assets after you die. That is why it is so important for you to create an estate plan. Even people of modest means have an estate and multiple options to choose from to ensure that their affairs are in order when the time comes. Two popular options are wills and living trusts. Understanding the difference between the two can help you decide which one is your best option.

A Last Will and Testament

A will is a legally binding written document that dictates how your property and assets will be distributed when you die. You can modify your will at any point during your lifetime, which means that the terms are not set in stone at the time of writing them. You can use a will to name a guardian of minor children in the event of your death, decide how debts and taxes will be paid, and name an executor of your estate.

Living Trusts

A living trust is a legal entity that is created to hold and own property. A trust is managed by a trustee, which is usually the owner, at least during his or her lifetime. The owner is also usually the beneficiary while they are alive. A trust usually names a successor trustee who will take over the management of the trust when the owner dies. Your assets can be dispersed to named beneficiaries when you die, and you will be able to maintain privacy regarding how these affairs are handled.

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