Elder Law


Estate Planning for the Finacial Future of Loved Ones

The first step in Estate Planning is the drafting of a Will. It is in a Will that a testator (the person making the Will) is able to legally identify everything that he/she will want to pass on to his/her spouse, children and other dependents, as well as what or how much cash each will have. The testator, according to Chicago elder law litigation attorneys, may also choose to draft a more elaborate Will wherein he/she can elect his/her preferred guardian for minor children (who will make sure that they are provided for, both personally and financially, upon death or incapacity), name a health-care proxy, who will make medical decisions for him/her if ever he/she gets incapacitated and, elect an executor, or the person who will manage the estate left for distribution. This executor is also tasked to see to it that the testator’s last wishes are fulfilled, that all unpaid debts are settled and, after payment of all debts, whatever remains will be distributed to all heirs.

The mental capacity of a testator during the drafting of his/her Will is essential as this is a guarantee that he/she is never influenced by anyone and that he/she is perfectly aware of his/her decisions. Equally important are the observance of the rights of every legal heir and being counseled by a knowledgeable and experienced legal professional to ensure that the Will’s contents comply with the laws of the state where the testator resides or where the estate owned is located).

A lawyer’s assistance can also help effectively address any litigation due to a Will contest that any heir may file. Contesting or challenging the validity of a Will can be filed by any heir who feels that he/she deserves more than what was left for him/her. An heir can also question the testator’s mental state when the Will was drafted, citing any possibility of influence or manipulation by someone with interest in the assets and properties.

As estate and trust disputes involve family members, all issues, therefore, are considered sensitive. Failure to address disputes effectively can only result to rivalries between family members which can create rifts in their relationship.

Family members should understand that an estate plan is meant to put order in their properties and assets, as well as to make sure that they will be able to enjoy the maximum value of everything through reduction of tax and other expenses. Thus, in the event of disagreement, which can lead to litigation, if the family members themselves fail to allay anyone’s doubts, then only a knowledgeable, experienced and skillful lawyer probably can.

Read More