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Removing "estate" from estate planning and probate

Ask many Illinois residents about their estate planning efforts, and the answer is likely to be a laugh and a shrug. Many people are under the impression that unless they have a massive base of wealth, they have no need for estate planning and probate. That approach, however, is flawed, and fails to consider the many benefits of having a comprehensive estate plan.

The components of a basic estate plan are fairly standard, but how those documents are drafted makes all the difference. Most people begin with a basic will, which outlines how their property is to be distributed in the event of death. A will can be very basic, with most assets being passed to one individual, or very detailed, with a list of individual belongings for multiple heirs.

Everyone should also consider drafting a medical power of attorney to address how decisions would be made in the event of incapacitation. As with a will, there are seemingly endless possibilities in creating a power of attorney. An individual can designate a person to handle some, most or all decisions if the need should arise. It is even possible to create a list of medical procedures that one wishes to avoid.

In addition to these basic components of estate planning and probate, there are many other options that can be put to use to customize a plan. By working with an estate planning attorney, Illinois residents can customize a plan that suits their specific set of needs. Best of all, that plan can be augmented as the years go by, so that one's estate plan is always aligned with their needs and desires.

Source: The Huffington Post, "You Don't Have to Own an Estate to Do Estate Planning!", Anthony Cirillo, Aug. 7, 2017

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