A Simple Will can be prepared efficiently, and it can provide tremendous security and comfort. If an individual passes away without a will, then their estate will pass according to the state laws of intestacy. For example, in Illinois, if the decedent passes away with a spouse and children, then the spouse will gain ½ of the estate and the other ½ will be split evenly between the children.
A will is a legal document that captures the intent of the testator concerning the distribution of their assets. An executor of the estate will also be identified in the will. If you have specific bequests, specific directives and/or you wish to have your property divided and disbursed according to your wishes instead of the State of Illinois, a will is necessary. Even in situations where individuals do not have bounteous assets, a will can save a great deal of expense, heartache, headache and confusion for your loved ones upon your death.
A will is also necessary in the event that you wish to name a guardian for any minor children. Assets that pass through the use of a will likely still need to undergo the probate process in the event that the property consists of real estate and/or amounts to more than $100,000. A will can provide a great deal of comfort and security to loved ones in a very tumultuous time.
At Wills & Trusts, our attorneys are leading the revolution in terms of efficient will construction. After a free no obligation initial consultation, we can set up an appointment for an interview where we will advise about the best path forward given your unique legal and financial situation. Once we prepare the documents, we will either send them to you via email or via mail. From there we can set up a remote will signing via ZOOM or Microsoft teams. From that point, you will need to scan or face the documents back to us so we can formally sign as witnesses. We can always set up an in person signing to suit your needs as well.
People who pass away without a will are considered “intestate.” This means that the laws of the state in which you live will govern the distribution of your assets. Typically, this results in 50% of your assets going to your spouse and the other 50% being split equally among your children (per stirpes). If you own property and/or your estate is worth more than $100,000 (in Illinois), your estate will need to go through the probate court system.
Typically, a will must be witnessed by two people, and the witnesses should not be beneficiaries. A notary is not necessary in Illinois, but if a notary is not used, an affidavit from the testator should be signed.
A homemade will can be problematic especially in the event that you wish to disinherit someone; you want to avoid probate; you own property; and/or you want to make sure that the will is valid. Cheap wills can be created using the internet, but saving a few hundred dollars in the short term might cost your family years of litigation and tens of thousands in costs. The cost of filing a will alone might significantly offset the cost of having a lawyer create an estate plan.
A person who creates a will can modify it or revoke it as long as they are mentally competent. A will can be modified by way of a codicil that amends the will. Alternatively a new will can be created that invalidates prior wills.
Probate is the legal process where a will is approved and assets are distributed and/or an intestate estate is distributed according to state rules. Probate can be costly and it can take years to finalize.