No one wants to think about one’s own mortality. It can be a depressing subject. Failing to think about it, though, can hurt oneself and one’s family in the end. Illinois residents who are not ready to dive head first into the estate planning process can grant themselves and their loved ones some protection by at least having a valid will in place.

Anyone can write up a document on the computer, stating his or her final wishes and call it a will, but it will not be considered valid in court. A will must be signed in front of witnesses to be valid. A home-written will may also not provide all the protections one desires. At the end of the day, wording matters when it comes to legal documents. The wrong wording or a lack of specific information can make a will useless.

A will should be specific. It should name beneficiaries and exactly what each beneficiary should receive. It should name an executor and directions for this individual. For those with minor children, one may want to name a guardian for them to make sure they go to someone trustworthy.

Once a will is completed and signed, it should be reviewed every few years and updated if necessary. It is not typically a one-and-done kind of document. While it is the most basic of all the estate planning documents, it can accomplish a lot and provide a good amount of protection if written the right way. Legal counsel can help Illinois residents create wills that are sufficient for their needs and legally binding.