Estate Planning Lawyer Serving the Greater Chicago Area
It is important for people of all ages to have an estate plan, and to work with an experienced Illinois estate planning lawyer to ensure that their wishes are carried out in the event of death or disability. While many people assume that estate planning is only for older adults or those with serious illnesses, estate planning is essential for all adults. At the same time, it is particularly essential for elderly adults to think about estate planning. If you need assistance, an experienced estate planning lawyer in Illinois can help.
Creating Estate Plans and Living Trusts
The Illinois Probate Act of 1975 (755 ILCS 5/) governs many estate planning issues in Illinois. One of the most important parts of estate planning is creating a valid will. Without a will, you will die “intestate,” and Illinois intestacy laws will govern the distribution of your property. By having a will in place, you can make clear how you want your property distributed in the event of your death. For a will to be valid in Illinois, the following must be true:
- Testator (person creating the will) must be at least 18 years old;
- Testator must be able to understand the consequences of the terms in the will;
- Testator must sign the will in the presence of two witnesses; and
- Witnesses must sign the will.
In addition to creating a valid will, everyone in Illinois should consider a living trust. This is a type of trust that is created during a person’s lifetime for that person’s own benefit. With a living trust, the creator designates either themselves, another person (the trustee), or a financial institution to manage their, financial and real estate assets, and upon death, the trustee can transfer those assets to your designated beneficiaries.
Health Care Estate Planning and the Elderly in Illinois
While everyone should consider the benefits of healthcare-related estate planning and advance directives, they are especially important for the elderly. Advance directives are documents that concern a person’s wishes with regard to health care. Under Illinois law, the five types of advance directives include:
- Health care power of attorney, which names another person who can make health care decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and cannot make those decisions for yourself
- Living will, which specific certain health care decisions you have made if you cannot voice them, such as a desire to avoid life support
- Mental health treatment preference declaration, which allows a person to declare his or her preferences for mental health treatment
- Durable power of attorney, which names another person who can make financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and cannot make these decisions for yourself.
- Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) or Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), which is a document in which you say you do not want to be revived in certain medical circumstances
In addition to these documents, it is also important to consider HIPAA releases to give another party access to your medical records. When you designate someone as a health care power of attorney, you should also consider a financial or property power of attorney, designating someone to make financial decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.
Elder Abuse and Other Issues Affecting Seniors
In addition to wills, trusts, and powers of attorney, we also assist seniors and their families with some of the following issues:
- Nursing home and assisted-living facility agreements, including breach of contract claims
- Nursing home abuse and neglect, including various forms of elder abuse
- Elder real estate issues, including sales and purchases;
- Living trusts, Wills
- Medicare asset protection trusts and planning;
- Special needs trusts
- Use of ABLE accounts
- VA asset protection trusts
Contact an Illinois Estate Planning Lawyer
Do you need assistance with estate planning or dealing with another legal issue related to aging? Our seasoned estate planning lawyer with years of experience assisting elderly clients and their families can speak with you today about your case. Our staff is able to have clients sign documents at the nursing home or assisted-living community if they are unable to come to our office. Contact Harold W. Conick & Associates Ltd. At (800) 608-8881 for more information about visiting our firm or having us come to you.