Without an estate plan in place, it’s up to the state to distribute your property fairly to your closest living relatives and family members. Creating an estate plan is a simple and effective way to make sure your loved ones are looked after when you’re no longer able to provide for them or when you pass away. But there are a few essential steps you’ll need to take before meeting with an estate planning attorney in Illinois. Here’s what you need to know.

estate planning guide

Compile the Right Documents

Before you can create an estate plan, you’ll want to review your assets and property. That means compiling bank statements, retirement account statements, any wills you’ve written in the past, and other similar documents. If you have physical property that you want to leave to specific people, create a list of those items and they’re approximate value as you go. This will help you create a functional estate plan that provides for your wishes.

Figure Out Your Beneficiaries

Before you meet with an attorney, you’ll want to consider who you want to leave property and assets to as well as who you want to be in charge of your estate if you’re unable to make decisions yourself. These beneficiaries can be anyone. You’re free to leave assets to your spouse, children, siblings, cousins, friends, and even charities. It all depends on what you want to accomplish and who you want to prioritize. There’s no right or wrong answer.

Establish Power of Attorney (POA)

An often-overlooked aspect of estate planning is establishing a power of attorney or POA. This should be a person you trust to act on your behalf if you’re incapacitated or unable to make decisions on your own. There are two types of POA that you’ll want to create. One is for your estate so you can guarantee that bills and recurring payments go through on time when you’re unable to authorize those payments yourself. The other is a medical POA. Medical POAs give someone you trust the right to make medical decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated.

Communicate Your Wishes to Your Loved Ones

Even before you have a formal estate plan in place, it’s a good idea to communicate your wishes to your loved ones. This helps make sure they’re aware of how you want your estate managed if you pass away and gives you a chance to discuss your wishes with those you love before anything happens that could make you unable to express those wishes.

Schedule a Consultation Today

Creating an estate plan is a simple way to make sure your loved ones are looked after and that your wishes will be followed when you pass away. Every estate plan is unique and the types of provisions and documents you’ll need will vary depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. At Legacy & Life Law Firm, our experienced estate planning attorneys in Illinois will help you create a plan that works for your goals. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the stress out of estate planning.