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Illinois Estate Planning

Everyone should do some basic estate planning—that is, planning to make sure that your wishes are followed after your death, your family is spared unnecessary expense and delay, and that someone you trust will be in charge if you ever become unable to manage things on your own.

The estate planning documents that all Illinois adults need include:

  • a will, to leave your assets and name your executor
  • a durable power of attorney for finances, to name someone to take care of your finances if it’s ever necessary
  • a living will (called a declaration in Illinois), to spell out your end-of-life wishes, and
  • a durable power of attorney for health care, to name someone to make sure your health care wishes are honored.

If you live in Illinois, you may also want to consider probate-avoidance. Probate is a court proceeding, conducted after someone’s death, which gives your executor authority to pay your bills and transfer your assets to the people who inherit them. But probate can be expensive and time-consuming, and many people prefer to avoid it altogether, saving their families money and hassle. Probate can be easily avoided with a living trust or other methods—as long as you act during your lifetime. After your death, your family won’t be able to take steps to avoid probate of your estate.

Illinois has an estate tax, but it is imposed on only the wealthiest families. Every person can leave $4 million of assets without paying any tax to the state.

The articles below discuss Illinois estate planning issues.

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