Everyone should do some basic estate planning—that is, planning to make sure that your wishes are followed after your death, that 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:
If you live in Illinois, you may also want to consider planning to avoid probate. 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.
Illinois has an estate tax, but it is imposed on only wealthy families. Every person can leave behind $4 million of assets without paying estate taxes to the state.
The articles below discuss Illinois estate planning issues.