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Three Simple Steps for Planning Your Estate

Posted on in Estate Planning

An organized estate is one of the most important gifts you can leave your survivors. Spending time now to plan and document your wishes can help your loved ones cope, and make things easier for them. Each state is different, but this simple checklist will help you get started with estate planning in Illinois.

  1. Plan for life - Before you begin planning for your estate, you'll want to put together a few things that will help your family should you become ill. A durable power of attorney and a living will can help smooth the way for family should you become ill or incapacitated. You should also ensure that you are carrying the proper health insurance.
  2. Get organized - Organize your financial records and create a detailed list of financial accounts, loan payments, and other debts. File important documents in a safe place, and include instructions in your will telling survivors where to find them. Create a document listing your personal data, including your VA claim number (if you have one), as well as the names and phone numbers of family members who should be contacted.
  3. Plan your estate - Create a will, and include a letter of instruction telling survivors your wishes for what procedures you want followed regarding your funeral. Establish a trust or special-needs trust for children if necessary. Make arrangements for transferring any business assets you may have. Review your IRA, 401(k), and retirement plans for beneficiary benefits, and include instructions for what survivors need to do to get them. This will also need to be done for life insurance.

Of course, this list is very basic, and many of the documents mentioned should not be written on your own and will require a professional. If you are ready to begin planning your estate, contact a qualified Illinois estate planning attorney for assistance right away.

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