Matthew S. Payne is a Schaumburg-based attorney with a 20-year record of success in civil litigation, real estate law and estate planning.

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Common estate planning mistakes to avoid

On Behalf of | May 13, 2022 | Estate Planning

We all know that having an estate plan is important in Illinois. However, there are a number of common mistakes that people make when they are putting together their plans.

Not having a will

A will is one of the most important documents in an estate plan. It allows you to specify how you want your assets to get distributed after you die. If you don’t have a will, the state may divide your assets for you, which may not be in accordance with your wishes.

Not updating your will

Once you have a will, it’s important to keep it up-to-date. If you don’t update your will as your circumstances change, it may not be valid when you die. For example, if you get married or divorced, have children, or acquire new assets, it’s a good idea to update your will to reflect these changes.

Not having a power of attorney

A power of attorney is an estate planning document that gives someone else the authority to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Without a power of attorney in place, your loved ones may have to go to court to get this authority, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Selecting the wrong executor, trustee or agent

The executor of your estate, the trustee of your trust and the agent under your power of attorney are all critical roles. These individuals will be responsible for carrying out your wishes after you die or become incapacitated. It’s important to choose someone who’s trustworthy, organized and capable of handling this responsibility.

As you can see, making these issues can lead to big problems down the road. It’s therefore critical to do your research and understand the potential estate planning mistakes that you can make before getting started.