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For more information about Living Wills and Health Care directives, the Illinois State Bar Association has created this brochure to explain some of the main features of both.

Is there enough money to provide for my family?

Particularly with young people, the adequacy of one's life insurance program should be reviewed.

Living Will

Some people also wish to draft a Living Will to act in conjunction with a Health Care Power of Attorney.  This is acceptable in order to make your wishes known, but a living will is inoperable all by itself.  It must always be accompanied by a Power of Attorney in order to be effective.  Again, it is advised that you give a copy of the signed document to your agent and also place a signed copy of the signed in your medical records file at every hospital, clinic, or doctor's office that you have established as a care provider.

Who should get my money and property when I'm gone?

The needs of one's spouse, children and others must be weighed against one another. This can be particularly difficult if there are children by prior marriages or a property settlement agreement with a current or former spouse.

Who will manage the estate?

This is a critical problem if there are handicapped or minor beneficiaries. Who should be guardian of minors or handicapped beneficiaries?

Powers of Attorney

There are two types of Power of Attorney in Illinois:
A Power of Attorney for Property and a Health Care Power of Attorney.  You may use one or both forms as needed for your particular situation.  It is advised that if you have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare, you give a copy of the signed document to your agent and also place a signed copy of the signed in your medical records file at every hospital, clinic, or doctor's office that you have established as a care provider.  In that way, they already have a copy in the future event that you are incapacitated in some manner when you arrive for treatment with that facility.

The Illinois State Bar Association has developed this brochure to explain some of the main aspects involved in estate planning.

Are there any tax considerations?  

Particularly in the cases of business or farm ownership, there are questions with regard to succession of ownership.  Also, large asset scenarios can lead to higher tax consequences.

In most cases, lay people shouldn't do their own estate planning without legal help. Few persons are experienced in solving the problems outlined above. Even fewer are skilled in drafting with precision and clarity the documents needed to put the plan into effect. One's attorney should certainly be involved in preparation of the estate plan. Many other people -- accountants, life insurance underwriters, trust officers and financial planners -- may also assist in this planning. For certain estates, bankers, business consultants and farm managers may be consulted as well.

Estate Planning

Estate planning is a process where a person's objectives for management and disposition of his property are analyzed and action is taken to accomplish those objectives.  Here are some of the areas that estate planning addresses:

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