Chicago Estate Planning Simple WillOur Chicago estate planning attorney believes that everyone needs a last will and testament or simple will, at a minimum, regardless of the size of the estate.  A last will and testament or simple will is a persons legal declaration that directs the distribution of that person probate estate, election of agents and executors, election of guardians for any minor children, and provides other directions so that a persons estate planning and estate administration is effective and efficient.  A simple will , if properly drafted, can provide:
  • Instructions to distribute a persons property pursuant to specified instructions;
  • Elect the individuals a person would like to handle his or her financial affairs;
  • Name guardians to any minor children; and
  • In certain estate planning situations, delay the distribution of certain assets to minor children or minor beneficiaries.
There are many benefits to having a simple will carefully drafted and executed, which benefits are mostly gained by avoiding the family problems and resulting cost that would result from not having a last will and testament or simple will.

No Simple Will – Illinois Estate Administration Procedure

The following hypothetical is what may happen should an individual residing in Illinois die without a simple will or other Illinois estate planning documents:

I, John Doe a resident of Illinois, having a wife and children, do hereby accept this to be my Last Will and Testament drafted by the State of Illinois, because I do not otherwise have a valid simple will or other estate planning documents.

  • I give my wife one-half of my assets, and I give my children the remaining one-half.
  • I appoint my wife as guardian of my children, but as a safeguard my wife must report to the Probate Court each year and render an annual accounting of how, why, and where she spent my children’s inheritance for their proper care and support.
  • As a further safeguard, I require my wife to produce to the Probate Court a surety bond to guarantee that she exercises proper judgmet in handling, investing, and spending my children’s inheritance.
  • As a final safeguard, my children shall have the right to demand and receive a complete accounting from my wife of all of her financial actions in connection with the children’s inheritance as soon as they reach legal age.
  • When my children turn eighteen, they shall have full rights to withdraw and spend their inheritance as they wish without any restrictions.  No one shall have the right to question my children’s actions on how they decide to spend their inheritance.
  • Should my wife marry another and also die without a will, her second husband shall be entitled to one-half of everything my wife owns, including the inheritance she received from me.
  • Should my children need additional support after my wife’s death, the second husband shall not be required to spend any part of his share on my children’s behalf.
  • The second husband shall have the absolute right to determine who is to receive his share from my wife’s inheritance, even to the exclusion of my children.
  • Should my wife die before me while my children are still minors, I do not wish to elect those responsible persons who may be guardians of my children.
  • Rather than electing a guardian for my minor children, I direct my relatives and friends to mutually agree on a guardian for my children.
  • In the event my friends and relatives cannot agree on a guardian, I direct the Probate Court to make the selection.  If the court wishes, it may appoint a stranger who is acceptable to the court.
  • Since I prefer to have my hard earned money used for governmental purposes rather than for the benefit of my wife and children, I direct that no effort be made to lower my taxable estate.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have set my and and seal to this, my Last Will and Testament.    /John Doe/