One reason many people in the Mokena area create estate plans is to reduce the amount of conflict that may occur between their family members after they die. They believe they only need to create wills. There are other estate planning documents they should consider using to protect their estates and prevent disputes.
In many areas of Illinois, the typical family is blended. That is, there are exes, stepparents, stepchildren, step-grandparents and the like. Each blended family is unique, but many have specific estate planning considerations that may not apply to "traditional" families.
If you are a young professional, your days are no doubt very full. You are focused on your career, you enjoy time with your friends and you are into experiencing what life has to offer in terms of new people, places and things. If the subject of estate planning comes up at any point, you probably brush it aside, figuring you should not have to think about it for many years yet.
Estate planning consists of more than just creating a will. In fact, a will often is not sufficient for all your estate needs. When it comes to protecting and distributing your assets, you should consider establishing a trust instead.
A person’s will typically does not come to light until his death. Sometimes, beneficiaries are not aware of the contents and are surprised by the division of the estate. When the assets are not divided as expected, it can make the heirs wonder if they should contest the will.
Testamentary capacity constitutes one of the basic requirements for the validity of a will. Often, heirs or beneficiaries unhappy with a will's provisions consider challenging the will by alleging the testator lacked proper capacity. Illinois law and case history offers some guidelines for the definition and proof of incapacity that could invalidate a will.
Undue influence constitutes one of the grounds to set aside a will or some of its provisions under Illinois law. Claiming undue influence means alleging that the contents of a will were the result of undue influence by another person rather than of the testator's own intentions.
Every now and then the media jumps on stories of family battles that have erupted after a celebrity passes away with no estate plan in place. Not only relatives fight in court over how the celebrity’s assets should be distributed, but often claims from purported relatives who want a piece of the pie. In normal life, it may not be as likely for strangers to try to tap into a probate estate. However, minimizing disputes among loved ones is an important process that estate planning is intended to provide.