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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1523981921-min.jpgThe death of a loved one can be difficult. In addition to dealing with the grief that comes from losing a beloved friend or family member, it will also be necessary to address the person’s final affairs. The person who was named as the executor of the deceased person’s estate will need to complete the probate process. An executor will want to be sure they fully understand their duties and responsibilities during this process, and with the help of an attorney, they can take steps to make sure their loved one’s final wishes will be followed correctly.

Understanding the Illinois Probate Process

A person’s last will and testament will name someone that they wish to serve as the executor of their estate, such as a family member or close friend. Following the person’s death, the executor will be required to do the following:

  1. File the will in probate court - By opening a probate case, the executor will begin the legal process of overseeing the estate. The court will officially appoint the person as the executor, giving them the right to administer the estate. In some cases, an executor may be required to post a bond, which will help ensure that they will administer the estate correctly.

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Cook County living will attorneyFor many people and families, the process of estate planning is focused on what will happen after a person’s death. By creating a will or using tools such as trusts, a person can make decisions about how their final affairs will be handled, including how they will pass their assets to their heirs. However, an estate plan can also address how various matters will be handled before a person’s death. In addition to ensuring that they will have the financial resources they need, a person can make decisions about the medical care they will receive. This can help a family avoid uncertainty as a person gets closer to the end of their life, and the person can make sure their wishes will be followed if they become ill enough that they cannot express their preferences to others. A living will can often be the best way to address these issues.

What Is a Living Will?

A last will and testament will only take effect after a person’s death, and it will address a person’s final wishes. A living will, on the other hand, will address the medical care that a person may receive before their death. This legal document takes the form of a declaration stating a person’s preferences for medical care and treatment if they are terminally ill.

A living will is only applicable in situations where a person has an irreversible medical condition that will result in their death. Once a doctor determines that a person’s condition is terminal, and medical treatment would only serve to delay the moment of death, the living will’s terms will go into effect. These terms may address the types of medical treatment a person should receive and whether certain types of treatment should be withheld. By using a living will, a person can ensure that they will receive the proper treatment in cases where they become incapacitated and cannot make their desires known to others.

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Chicago Probate Lawyer

A person’s last will and testament details their decisions about how their final affairs should be handled following their death. Some of the most important provisions of a will involve the distribution of a person’s property to their heirs. In some cases, one or more a person’s loved ones may be unhappy with the decisions made in a will, especially if they do not receive certain property that they expected to inherit. In these situations, a person’s heirs, the executor of their estate, and any other interested parties will want to understand when a will may be contested.

Grounds to Contest a Will in Illinois

A person who has died is known as a decedent. After a decedent’s death, the person they named as the executor of their estate will file their will in probate court. The executor will take a complete inventory of the estate, notify the person’s heirs, and ensure that the person’s assets are distributed according to their wishes. During the probate process, an interested party (including a person named as a beneficiary in a will or another loved one who expects to inherit property) may contest the will based on claims that it is invalid.

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Posted on in Estate Planning

Chicago Estate Planning LawyerOf the different estate planning tools that a person can use to ensure that their wishes will be followed during their life and after their death, powers of attorney can be some of the most powerful and beneficial. When a person creates a power of attorney agreement, they will name someone who will have the legal authorization to make certain types of decisions on their behalf. In many cases, a power of attorney will be “durable,” ensuring that a person’s wishes will be followed correctly if they become unable to make decisions for themselves.

What Makes a Power of Attorney Durable?

The person who creates a power of attorney will give another person, known as their “agent,” the authority to make certain types of decisions. These decisions will depend on the type of power of attorney that is created. A power of attorney for healthcare will address decisions related to a person’s medical care and personal needs, and an agent may be able to address issues such as the forms of treatment a person will or will not receive, whether they should be admitted to a hospital or mental health facility, and whether they should receive life-sustaining treatment if they are terminally ill. A power of attorney for property will address financial decisions, and an agent may be able to manage a person’s income and assets, make purchases or investments, pay bills and expenses, or manage a business.

In some cases, a power of attorney may be created with a start and end date. These types of agreements may be used in cases where a person gives their agent the power to enter into financial transactions on their behalf or in situations where a person wants to have their agent make medical decisions for them when they are undergoing surgery or other forms of major medical treatment. However, durable powers of attorney are used in many cases, and these types of agreements will continue to apply if a person becomes incapacitated. 

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Cook County Estate Planning and Probate attorneyA last will and testament can be crucial for a person of any age. A will makes decisions about issues such as how a person’s property will be distributed to their beneficiaries, who they would like to be the guardian of their minor children, how their funeral and burial arrangements should be handled, and any other last wishes they want to address. However, there are some situations where a person may die without having a will in place. In these cases, family members and other loved ones will need to understand how the person’s final affairs will be handled.

Intestate Succession in Illinois

If a person had no valid will at the time of their death, this is known as dying “intestate,” and the laws of intestate succession will be used to determine how their assets will be distributed to their heirs. In Illinois, these laws state that:

  • If a person was married and had no children or other descendants, their spouse will receive their entire estate.

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