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Different Types of Wills

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Wills offer peace of mind. These important legal documents stipulate how your assets will be distributed once you have passed. Without a will, the state of Illinois, via the Illinois Probate Act, determines how your assets will be handled. The best time to create a will is now, whether or not you are in peak health, to ensure your loved ones’ futures are secure.

The type of will you create can fall into any of the following four variations and be legally recognized in the state of Illinois.

Different Types of WillsLast-Will-and-Testament-Form-with-Gavel

Simple Will

Simple wills are just that, simple to create, require minimum effort to draft and address most assets. This type of will is especially ideal for those who do not own a major estate that is subject to estate taxes.

A simple will manages your last desires, including

  • Distributing property once you are deceased
  • Designating a guardian for your minor children
  • Appointing an individual to handle your minor children’s financial affairs and
  • Naming a person to execute your estate

A simple will normally takes care of the needs of people under the age of 50 who have a small estate (your property). If you own significant assets or property or will owe estate taxes upon your death, a simple will may not be for you. Plus, if you intend to distribute your wealth to your children and, when they die, to your grandchildren, you will require a more complex will.

You, as the testator (person writing the will) can write a simple will without the assistance of a will and trust attorney. Once the will is written, at least two witnesses (according to Illinois law) must sign the form in order for it to be legally binding; these witnesses must not be beneficiaries. Individuals may create simple wills via self-help books, online forms, and software designed to develop these legal documents.

Testamentary Trust Wills

When you designate a portion of your property to a trust, you require a testamentary trust will. This type of will allots your property to your beneficiary, but a designated trustee manages the details of how and when your assets are dispersed to the trust beneficiary.

For instance, you designate your oldest child as your beneficiary but stipulate that your brother acts as the trustee. The trustee manages the funds, doling out a portion of your assets regularly over a period of time, rather than delivering the funds in one lump sum to your oldest child.

If your designated trustee declines the role, the court may assign a trustee; alternately, another trusted individual may volunteer to assume the responsibility.

Joint Will

A joint will is drafted so that all your assets go to your living spouse. Essentially, couples leave their property to each other. A joint will cannot be revised without the other spouse’s consent, meaning it is irrevocable once one spouse has passed.

Given the irrevocable nature of the joint will, attorneys advise against drafting such a document. The surviving spouse may live for several more years and eventually may face life circumstances that warrant a change in the terms of the joint will. For example, the living spouse may wish to allocate a portion of the assets to a grandchild for his college expenses; or, the survivor may desire to downsize and move into a smaller home. Unfortunately, alterations to the joint will cannot legally be made, since receiving approval from the deceased spouse is impossible.

Living Will

A living will involves your last wishes related to your medical care if you become too incapacitated to communicate. For instance, you may draft a living will that relays your wish to not be hooked up to feeding tubes or be resuscitated in the event you become unconscious.

A living will serves as your healthcare directive. In the document, you appoint an agent to carry out your decisions as outlined in the living will. The appointed healthcare agent cannot be the testator’s healthcare provider. According to Illinois law, two witnesses must sign the living will; these witnesses must be over 18 years old, should not be accountable for your healthcare costs and should not be legally permitted to your estate. As the testator, you are responsible for notifying your medical provider of the existence of the living will.

Unrecognized Wills

In the state of Illinois, two types of wills lack legal authority. The first of the two is the holographic will, which is handwritten by the testator and fails to bear the signatures of witnesses. Unless the will was written in another state that does not require witness signatures, the holographic will has no legal power in Illinois.

The second type of will that is unrecognized in Illinois is the nun-cupative will. Such a will is spoken to witnesses, including in such scenarios as life and death emergencies, soldiers in war or persons in danger of facing imminent death, and by people who cannot immediately draft a written will. Illinois does not accept nun-cupative wills under any condition, although some jurisdictions do.

Wills ensure that your final wishes are carried out as you intend. In order for a will to be accepted in a court of law, the document must be legally binding. One way to ensure your will is permissible in court is to create the form with the help of a will and trust attorney from the reputable law firm of Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.

Work with Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd.Berry-K.-Tucker-Lawyer-Oak-Lawn-IL

The attorneys at Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. stay current on changing Illinois laws, ensuring your legal documents are properly executed and your family’s financial future is secure. Our lawyers take time to understand your unique financial situation and advise you appropriately. We are experienced in all forms of estate planning, from simple wills to trusts, like irrevocable trusts, charitable trusts, and living trusts, among many others.

Our exceptionally skilled estate planning lawyers from Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd. serve the greater Oak Lawn, IL community with dedication and unparalleled expertise. Consultations are available for those interested in meeting with one of our will and trust attorneys.

Request a Consultation

To request an initial consultation with Berry K. Tucker & Associates, Ltd., give us a call at (708) 425-9530 or fill out a contact form. We look forward to working with you!

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