The unthinkable happens: A serious car accident involving fatalities. One of them is you. Your family is grieving, but they are alive and need to survive as best they are able.  When your spouse, parents, or siblings later begin reviewing your paperwork, they look for your Estate Plan. But you never created one. They may be lucky to identify all your assets in 6 months.  Now what?

Regardless of your financial status, you should have an Estate Plan that provides clear and specific directions. In a prior blog, we discussed why you should have attorney assistance in creating your complete Estate Plan.

Here are 5 reasons why you should have an Estate Plan completed:
  1. You have children.  If something happened to you and your spouse, who do you want to take care of them? Your parents? Your spouse’s parents? A sibling, relative or friend? If you don’t have it spelled out in Guardianship provisions, a Court must determine who should be granted their custody–your wishes will not be considered.
  2. You have assets. You don’t need to be a millionaire to have an idea as to how your cash or investment assets should be distributed following your death. You may want a spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, charities or some combination thereof to inherit. If you do not specify who should receive what dollar amounts, percentages, or otherwise, your hard-earned savings will be ordered distributed by a Court—again without regard to your wishes. There are Illinois statutes defining who are your legal heirs and the fractional amounts each may receive, or not.  With an Estate Plan, you define your beneficiaries, your statutory heirs at law become irrelevant, and the Court stays out of your business.
  3. You own real estate. Do you own your home or other real estate? Is it listed in your name solely or jointly with someone else? There are several types of property ownership, each giving or depriving your beneficiaries of certain ownership and possessory rights at your death. As with cash and investments, you don’t want a Court to decide who is entitled to the property.
  4. You have personal property. Do you have a ring given to you by your grandmother or a special memento given to you by a dear friend? You may want those items to be given to certain people in your life who know and appreciate their significance, and who will cherish them. Without a proper Estate Plan, those items may never reach the people to whom you desire.
  5. You want your family protected. Is your family protected financially in the event of your death? You may think that your investments are readily available to your spouse, for example. The last thing you want is for your spouse to be prevented from access to bank or other financial accounts for any one of a number of reasons, and the possible hardship into which he or she is now thrust. Your spouse will have to wait for your estate to go through Probate Court, which is an expensive, time-consuming, and anxious process. To avoid any of that, a complete Estate Plan is the panacea.

At the Greenberg Law Firm, we ask questions. We listen.  We analyze, strategize, and devise an Estate Plan finely tailored to meet your needs and that of your family. We understand that there are a myriad of dynamics in any family that can be challenging. Should you have a will or a trust? Do you need a Living Trust, Powers of Attorney, and an Advance Health Care Directive? We will help you determine what the best course of action is for you and your loved ones.

The Greenberg Law Firm is ready, willing and able to give you peace of mind. Call us at 630-416-4747.