DuPage County Wills Attorney
Estate Planning Services in Downers Grove, Elmhurst, and Throughout Illinois
When a loved one passes, the last thing their family members want to deal with is uncertainty. This is why wills are so important. The creation of a will leaves your relatives enforceable written direction of what will happen at the time of your death. It ensures a smooth distribution of your assets to the next generation.
Michael V. LoCicero, Attorney at Law, is a seasoned estate planning attorney providing Chicago area clients with compassionate personalized service to help you (and your family) organize your affairs in the event of death or illness. From simple wills to advanced health care directives, Michael has an in-depth understanding of this area of the law. Our DuPage County estate planning attorney is knowledgeable about the Illinois legal system and can help ensure that you have and effective and enforceable estate plan in place.
A will, also known as a last will and testament, is the most commonly used estate planning tool. A will primarily accomplishes three objectives:
- Select and designate an executor to manage your estate and carry out the directions of your will.
- Provide your clear directions on how the assets (which are in your name only) will be distributed upon your passing.
- Waive surety or bond, to save administration expenses if your estate is probated.
You can also nominate a guardian (a person you select) to act on behalf of any minor children or other dependents. It is also possible to establish a future trust to protect the share a minor beneficiary may receive.
Common misconception: Although leaving a will is a good thing, your estate may still be subject to probate based upon the value of the assets you leave. A will only controls assets titled in your name only at your death and provides no benefits to you while you are alive.
Regardless of the value of your estate, it is important for every adult to have a professionally prepared will created by a licensed attorney who meets you and knows your exact personal situation. Also note that the absence of a will makes the probate process much more complicated and expensive. It gives your relatives and the probate court far more power to decide who receives your assets and who ends up being guardian of your minor children.
A living will is a limited statement concerning which treatments and/or death delaying procedures you wish to receive if the doctor determines that you are in "terminal" condition. A living will should cover conditions such as comas and other forms of incapacitation and the types of procedures/treatments you want performed to keep you alive, as well as those you want denied. Living wills are important, because they provide clear instructions to your doctor and save your family the trouble of making agonizing health care decisions on your behalf.
Note: Although a properly prepared and executed living will can provide a viable direction about your future treatment, you may be better advised to create a Power of Attorney for Health Care, which provides a more flexible health care directive.
A change to an existing Will must be done in writing and be formally executed with the same requisite steps as required in the creation of any Last Will and Testament. Handwritten changes are not binding, legally enforceable, or effective ways to change a document.
Unlike what you may see on TV or the movies, contesting a will occurs in very few instances. Just because you do not agree with the terms of someone’s Last Will and Testament does not provide legal grounds to contest a Will. The person contesting must prove, by credible evidence presented to the Court in a probate proceeding, any of the following:
- The Testator (person creating and signing the will) was not of sound mind and body, (lacked requisite legal capacity) when the last will and testament was created.
- The Testator was coerced or pressured to include will provisions they wouldn’t otherwise have done, except for the coercion or pressure, which would otherwise not be in keeping with his/her wishes.
- The Last Will and Testament was not properly prepared or witnessed.
Whether you need to create/update a simple or living will or you are dealing with a contested will, Michael V. LoCicero, Attorney at Law, can help. Contact our law office today at 630-932-7007 for your free consultation. Our DuPage County estate planning attorney represents clients for wills, trusts, probate, and other estate planning issues in Cook County and DuPage County, including the areas of Elmhurst, Villa Park, Lombard, Itasca, Hillside, Naperville, Wheaton, Willowbrook, and surrounding Illinois communities.