Everything You Should Know About a Last Will and Testament in IllinoisA last will and testament in refers to the document recognized by the law as a representation of your wishes on matters pertaining to your assets after your death. It is the cornerstone of estate planning in the state. A last will, prepared through filling out a free Illinois last will and testament allows naming of a person as the executor or administrator of your estate upon your demise. The named executor has to represent and protect your wishes and your estate after your demise. The person who creates the free last will and testament in Illinois is the testator, and as long as the will is writing, it protects the interests of the testator with regards to their property and children (if any). Thanks to a will, you get to protect your loved ones (spouse and children/other dependents) including your pets. The best bit about that last will is that it grants you leeway regarding how and who inherits your estate. So, whether you wish to give your children everything, or your spouse, or even if you want your sister/ brother/ friend to inherit your property, even if you have a surviving spouse, the will lets you. The only catch is that the will could be contested and so, you may want to name all beneficiaries and distribute your assets in a manner that will least likely elicit a challenge - you don't want the court to overturn or alter your wishes, do you? Like a living will, the last will carries your directives but, these are two different documents. The living will is only enforceable when you are alive but unable to act because of geographical differences or if you are mentally or physically incapacitated, but alive. A living will loses its power upon your death. The last will, on the other hand, represents and it enforces your wishes/ directives upon your death.
Uses of the last willNote this: even though it is not a legal requirement to create a last will and testament, it is a wise move. Without the will, you invite the state to your home, and they invoke the intestacy laws. The intestacy laws refer to the laws that apply to asset distribution when an individual dies without creating a will. Unfortunately, the involvement of the state means that your wishes are not respected because they were not written down and once these laws kick in, your friend, church, charity organization, or your pet will not get a share of your estate as you would have wanted.
- But, with a will, your wishes, however weird or out of the norm, will be respected. You can use the will to:
- Protect your children
- You also need to be specific when dividing inheritance between kids and your surviving spouse.
- Protection and care for your pet
- If you have a pet you wish to take care of for as long as it is alive, you could create a pet trust. The pet trust automatically terminates after the animal dies and when no animal is covered by the trust anymore.
- Speeding up the probate process
- The probate court expects the person with the will (the executor) to file the will with the clerk of court in the appropriate county for the court to issue the official letters of office which recognize the executor. Once this takes place, the executor gets the power to distribute the property.
- Business succession and asset protection