How Simple Wills Can Lead to Contested Estates

For most of us, choosing the simpler route is usually preferable to engaging in a time-consuming or complex process. However, this does not always translate to the estate planning process, where planning a simple estate may be easier in the short-term but cause more problems later. To learn more about the ins and outs of the estate planning process, as well as how those processes could affect your estate after your death, please reach out to our legal team, which is well-versed in handling contested estates in Chicago.

Something May Get Left Out

Many people are tempted to draft wills on their own, especially in cases where their estate isn’t overly complex. While this DIY approach may temporarily save money and time, going this route can be risky, as it is much more likely a valuable asset will get left out of the estate. This is particularly common with complex estates that have unique assets, like real estate holdings, business interests, and investment portfolios. If an asset is especially valuable, a decedent’s family members could spend years in court trying to decide who should receive the property.

You May Give Away Assets You Don’t Own

It isn’t always easy to determine who owns what property, especially for an asset that has been handed down through a family or is shared between relatives or business partners. For instance, a piece of property owned by two siblings cannot simply be given away completely to someone else upon the wishes of one sibling, unless both parties agree, or special procedural steps are taken. Failing to address these kinds of ownership issues could result in years of costly court proceedings to determine who gets what.

Your Estate Could Lack an Executor

Many people who create their own wills aren’t familiar with the complex nature of the estate planning process. It is not enough that a person just decides who gets what when planning his/her estate. That individual will also need to account for other important details, like end-of-life decisions, healthcare directives, and power of attorney designations.

A testator engaged in the estate planning process should also name an executor who will administer the estate according to his/her wishes. When this step isn’t taken, a decedent’s loved ones will need to go to court, where a judge will name an administrator. In many cases, this is not ideal for family members, who would much rather handle the dispersal of the estate on their own without the input of a non-family member.

We Can Help with Your Estate Planning Questions

Including detailed instructions in your estate plan is critical to avoiding court involvement and administrative confusion later. To learn more about how engaging in the estate planning process fully and thoroughly with the aid of an attorney can help prevent problems down the road, please contact the dedicated contested estate lawyers at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law by calling 847-325-5559 today.

Updated as of July 2019
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