Most often people tend to associate wills with the division of finances and property after an individual’s passing. And while it’s true that wills do serve that purpose, there are countless other ways that they can protect the futures of your loved ones. Debts, property, and assets aside, a will serves other important decisions such as:

  • Assigning a legal guardian for minors and dependents to reduce the involvement of the courts when making custody decisions
  • Assigning an executor to carry out the estate administration to circumvent the involvement of the courts in the settlement of your property and estate
  • Transference of property ownership to parties who wouldn’t normally inherit property from intestate succession laws such as charities, stepchildren, and friends
  • Specify your healthcare wishes should you lack the mental capacity to make these decisions on your own

You should also note that there are different types of wills that serve different purposes. In addition, some types of wills are incredibly weak and may not necessarily hold up after your passing. The following are several different types of wills:

  • Living Wills: living wills don’t typically deal with the division of an estate. Rather, they set forth guidelines and decisions about healthcare and life support should you have the misfortune of becoming incapacitated.
  • Holographic Wills: these types of wills are created without any witnesses, and you want to make sure you avoid them because they are extremely weak and don’t always hold up in court.
  • Oral Wills: oral wills are spoken in front of a group of witnesses to convey an individual’s last wishes, but by and large, they aren’t as widely accepted in a legal context as other types of wills.
  • Self-Proving or Testamentary Wills: this type of document is what most people traditionally think of when they consider a will. This document is prepared with the aid of legal counsel and observed and signed by witnesses.

What Happens if Someone Passes without a Will?

If an individual passes without a will, their property is going to be subject to intestate succession laws and regulations. Basically, it means that the state of Illinois is going to divide the assets of the deceased according to legal guidelines since they have no way of knowing how the deceased intended to divide their property without a will.

Each state’s intestate succession laws are a little different, but the idea is to distribute property to the family of the deceased. In the event that the deceased has no spouse or children, then the property is distributed to other family members. The problem here is that laws and guidelines that the state uses to divide your property may not align with your last wishes, potentially creating financial turmoil for people who had expected to inherit portions of your estate. Essentially, a will allows you to ensure that the intended recipients and loved ones inherit your estate to provide for your family after your passing.

Contact Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Today

To schedule a free initial consultation for the creation of a will in Lake or Cook County, please call 847-325-5559 today to protect the future of your estate and your loved ones with a will.

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