Wills

Estate Planning Lawyers Serving Residents of Kane and DuPage Counties

A well-drafted will can save your loved ones uncertainty and anxiety after your death. Our team of experienced estate planning attorneys can advise people throughout Kane and DuPage Counties on creating a pragmatic strategy for the future. At the Law Offices of Nick Kulagin, we can assist with drafting wills and with reviewing existing wills to make sure that they are legally valid. With 15 years of experience, our Wheaton attorneys understand how to protect your family, your home, and your business.

The Process of Crafting a Will

A will is a legal document that provides your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets and the payment of debts. It identifies an executor and designates a person to care for any minor children.

In order to create a valid will, the following conditions must be met. The testator must be of sound mind and at least 18 years of age, or an emancipated minor. He or she must sign the document in front of two witnesses, and the witnesses must also sign the will. Illinois law requires a will to be in writing. If a will is handwritten but meets the formalities, it is still legally valid. There is no requirement to have the will notarized in order for it to be legal.

In many cases, an individual might want to update or make slight changes to the will without rewriting the entire document. Such modifications can be made. These changes are known as “codicils” under the law. The court will recognize a codicil only if it meets the procedural requirements for the original will’s execution.

Illinois permits you to make your will self-proving. This speeds up probate because the court can accept the will without having to contact the witnesses who signed it. In order to create a self-proving will, you and your witnesses go to the notary and sign an affidavit that shows your identity and demonstrates that each person knew they were signing a will.

A living will is a document that contains health care decisions regarding terminal illness and life support options. This type of will is also known as a health care directive. You can make a living will if you are at least 18 years of age (or an emancipated minor), you sign the living will in front of two witnesses, and your witnesses sign the living will. These witnesses cannot be people who are responsible for your medical care or people who stand to inherit from you.

In the state of Illinois, a person who dies without a valid will dies “intestate.” In this case, the person’s assets are distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws. The process will go through the probate court. These laws often do not reflect an individual’s true wishes regarding property and asset distribution, which is why taking the time to create a will is important.

Safeguard the Future of Your Family by Enlisting an Attorney in DuPage or Kane County

At the Law Offices of Nick Kulagin, we can provide guidance to DuPage and Kane County residents on creating a will or trust that reflects their wishes. A knowledgeable lawyer can be critical in making sure that all of the appropriate steps are taken. We also represent individuals in Naperville, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, and Oak Park, among other communities. Call us at 630-480-6399 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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