Wills And Estate Planning

When it comes to estate planning, wills tend to be the first thing that people think of. Sometimes, people even believe that a will is another name for an estate plan; this is not the case.

A will is only one tool that an estate plan can utilize. Though wills are not always a complete estate planning solution by themselves, they are an extremely effective and important tool.

At Ann O'Connell Law, we seek to simplify the estate planning process by providing custom solutions for every client. If you have questions about the role a will should play in your estate plan, contact P. Ann O'Connell for specific legal advice.

Wills Are Not Just For The Wealthy

You’ve worked hard to build up your personal property, and you want to make sure that your property is passed on to people who will value it as much as you do.

A will can give you more control over what happens to your assets once you pass. Without a will in place, your assets will be distributed by the state through a process called intestate succession.

What Is Intestate Succession?

Intestate succession is a designated plan of asset distribution. In Illinois, assets of an estate are awarded based on who survives the deceased:

  1. Spouse only: Everything.
  2. Spouse/descendants: Half to the spouse; half to the descendant (or, if the descendant is dead, to their spouse/descendants).
  3. Descendants only: Everything.
  4. Siblings/parents (no spouse/descendants): Equal shares.
  5. Grandparents (no spouse/descendants): Equal shares to maternal and paternal grandparents (if they are dead, their share goes to their descendants).
  6. Remote relatives: If no spouse, descendants, siblings, parents or grandparents, your estate goes to the nearest family heirs.
  7. No survivors: If no relatives, real estate will go to the county where it is located. If it outside of the state, it goes to the county where the deceased was a resident when they died.

For some people, this distribution plan may not seem like an issue. However, everyone who allows their estate to pass into intestate succession gives up control of the process. Among other things, this means that you cannot specify whom specific assets go to. This can create conflicts for loved ones over assets and heirlooms of sentimental value.

Not only can intestate divide your estate in an unfavorable way, but it may also hold up the process and delay your family from receiving needed support. A will can ensure your assets are distributed according to your desires.

We Can Help Protect Your Legacy And Plan For The Future

When it comes to estate planning, every family has different concerns and needs. P. Ann O'Connell has the knowledge to ensure that your estate plan addresses your specific needs. As a full-service family law firm, Ann O'Connell Law can advise you on your estate planning needs and create the necessary documents to ensure your family’s future is well looked after.

With offices in Evanston and Highland Park, call Ann O'Connell Law at 847-859-5453 or visit our contact page for personalized estate planning assistance.