Like most people, you undoubtedly understand the important part of creating a comprehensive estate plan. Also like most people, you may not have done so yet. One reason for this may be that you simply do not know where to start. Numerous questions may come to mind. What is the most important estate planning document? What other documents do you need? How should decisions in your estate plan be made? Who should you appoint to the various roles within your plan? All of these questions may be rolling around in your head, causing you to hesitate instead of moving forward with your plan creation. Because the various components of an estate plan work together to create a comprehensive plan, it is difficult to identify one document as being the most important. The following, however, are by far the most commonly used estate planning document:
Last Will and Testament – your Will can accomplish the distribution of all, or just some, of your estate assets. In addition, your Will can direct that your estate assets be “poured over” into a trust. Finally, your Will allows you to nominate a Guardian for your minor children should one be needed some day.
Trust agreement – allows you to designate assets that are to be held for the benefit of loved ones, charities, or even your family pet. A trustee will oversee the management of the assets and distribute them per your instructions.
Advanced directives – allow you to designate someone to make healthcare related decisions for you should you be unable to make them yourself at some point. You may also be able to make end of life decisions for yourself now to ensure that your wishes are followed when the time comes.
Power of attorney – can be used to give a family member or loved one the power to control assets now or in the future.
Each of these documents serves a purpose within your estate plan. Together, they make up a comprehensive estate plan that should protect you, your assets, and your family both now and in the future.
If you have additional questions or concerns relating to Illinois estate planning in general contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.
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