If you were to die today, would your family know how you wanted your assets divided? Would your estate pass through probate easily, or would it take a year or more? If you have an updated will, everything is much easier for your family. Your will identifies your heirs, instructs the executor and the court on your wishes, and makes certain the right people receive the right items. Unfortunately, many people fail to keep their last will and testament up to date.
Updating your will does involve more than simply changing a document. You will need to have your will notarized and witnessed in order for it to be valid. For small changes, most people don’t update their will. Instead, they may update an additional document. This document, called a personal property memorandum, is not recognized by the court in Illinois, but your executor should use it as a guide to what you wanted.
That said, there are times you certainly should update your will. Some of these times include when you have a new baby when you adopt, or when your marital status changes. If one of your children dies or if your executor or named guardian dies, you will also need to update your will. You may also want to make changes to the document if you purchase more property or acquire other highly valuable assets.
Another document you need to keep updated is your power of attorney statement. This document allows the named person to act on your behalf if you are not capable of doing so. In most cases, your named agent invokes the power of attorney when you are seriously injured and are unconscious, although there are other situations where it may be needed. There are several types of power of attorney. Durable power allows the named agent to act on your behalf in all areas, while limited power confines them to certain decisions. For example, medical power of attorney only allows the agent to make medical decisions for you.
When considering where your hard-earned money will go after you die, it’s normal to take…