If you want to ensure your estate and assets go to the people you love, you need to create a last will and testament. In Illinois, these allow the testator, i.e. the individual preparing the will, the chance to ensure their loved ones will be taken care of in case they pass away. Aside from family and friends, you also can leave charitable donations to non-profits in your will.
In case you pass away without drafting a will, according to the Illinois probate process, the court will designate a personal executor to your estate and that individual will decide how your assets will be distributed – according to state laws and taking into consideration any living minor children or dependents.
How to Make a Valid Will
For a will to be considered legally valid in Illinois, the testator:
- Must be at least 18 years old when the will was made.
- Should have been in sound mind during the execution of the will.
- Should have signed the will in the presence of at least two (2) witnesses who were at least 18 years of age and of sound mind during observation of signing of the will. They also should have signed the will at the same time as the testator.
Your will also should have the following clauses to be deemed valid:
Mentioning beneficiaries – Your will should detail exactly how you want your assets to be distributed when you pass away. This includes accounting for unforeseen events, such as what will happen if one of the beneficiaries passes away. This is an easy fix and it has to do with the language you use in the will. For instance, instead of mentioning each beneficiary by name, just mention you want your assets to go to your children who are alive at the time of your passing.
Naming the Executor – This individual will be responsible for making sure your assets go to your designated beneficiaries as mentioned in your will. In case one cannot complete this duty, you can name more than one executor.
Your Children’s Guardian – According to Illinois law, you also have to name a guardian for your minor children in case you pass away or become disabled. Their responsibility will be to take care of your minor children. Make sure you also name a successor who can serve as a secondary guardian – in case your first choice is unable to carry out your wishes.
By making a will you ensure your loved ones are taken care of when you are no longer here. By getting an attorney to look over your will, you can eliminate potential legal discrepancies. Get in touch with us at Jackson Abdalla Law Group today to discuss your estate plans and will in Elgin, IL. We are well-versed in the state’s inheritance laws and will ensure your will is up to date.