The short answer is: yes, you should have a Will. While a Will is not legally required, it is the smart, cost effective choice. A Will is simply a legal document where a person, called a testator, documents their wishes for disposing of property, and the management of their affairs and family following their death. A Will must be in writing and must be signed by the testator, who must be of sound mind and memory. The Will must also be witnessed and attested to pursuant to Illinois law, specifically the Illinois Probate Act of 1975. So why is a will necessary?
- A Will allows you, within certain exceptions, to dispose of your property as you wish.
- A Will allows you to name the person you want to serve as an Executor.
- You can name a guardian of your choice for your kids.
- A Will, where bond is waived, can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in probate bond fees.
Not having a Will can leave your family and friends struggling to comply with your wishes, can result in your property passing by intestacy (without a Will) statutes, can wind up costing you hundreds to thousands of dollars in extra fees and costs, and extra fees and costs for probate, and can potentially subject you to having property pass to the county in which it is located.
Whether your property is in Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County or McHenry County, drafting a Will will save you and your family members money, time, and challenges that can arise in probate court from not having a Will. A Will is an important part of estate planning and is the most important first step in your total estate plan.