Will & Testament Services in Benton
Levanti Law, LLC is Southern Illinois’s Estate Planning Attorney
It is impossible to predict the future. Each day brings the possibility of triumph and, unfortunately, tragedy. It is important to address what will happen to your family when you are gone. A last will & testament is an essential part of your estate plan.
“Will” and “testament” are interchangeable terms in today’s legal parlance. This document helps detail what happens to your estate when you pass. Your estate is the total amount of property you own. Technically, anyone who owns anything has an estate. Regardless of the size of your estate, a will helps the family you leave behind.
Since 2001, Levanti Law, LLC has served Southern Illinois’s estate planning needs. Our clients come from Benton, Eldorado, Harrisburg, Mount Vernon, and elsewhere in the region. With experience and compassion, we can help guide your planning for what happens to your assets and your family.
Contact Levanti Law, LLC at (618) 717-4409 today to set up or amend your last will & testament in Southern Illinois.
Making a Plan for Your Property
Without a will, your property falls into intestate succession. In this process, the state takes control of your assets and divides them among your closest living relatives. It starts by giving assets to your spouse and children. If you have no living spouse or descendants, your property goes to your parents and/or siblings. Without those living relatives, it can go to aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and so on. If you have no living relatives in those categories, your entire estate belongs to Illinois.
These days, a person’s family doesn’t always fit within the traditional model. Perhaps someone has disconnected from their blood relatives, creating a happy family with close friends. Maybe someone has little connection to their biological parents, having been raised by an aunt or grandparent. By using a will, you can ensure that the correct people will be protected in your absence.
A will also allows you to be as specific as you please. You can leave a specific, sentimental heirloom to your best friend, or you can simply request that everything goes to your husband. Your choices are limitless, and they belong to you, not the court.
Our firm is here to help meet your needs. We will listen and help ensure that your wishes are carried out appropriately.
Planning for Probate
When it’s time to execute the decedent’s wishes, courts enter a process called “probate.” Essentially, probate handles the legalities of carrying out the will. Someone is named the “executor” of the estate. This person handles the leftover debts of the deceased. Afterward, they transfer ownership of property to the beneficiaries. The entire probate process can take months or even years, depending on the size of the estate and the complexity of the will.
With a will, you can name your executor. Managing an estate is a big job, and you must give it to someone you trust. Without naming someone, you are allowing the court to appoint your executor. This could be a stranger, paid to manage your affairs with no personal investment in the job.
Our firm can help draft your will to ensure you have the executor you want. We can watch over the process, making sure the courts and this individual correctly follow your plan. If you wish, we can even take the role of executor, having more direct contact with the probate process.
Protecting the Children
Without a will, you may not be able to control who cares for your children. Courts can grant guardianship to your parents, siblings, or other distant relatives. In the worst-case scenarios, your children could be turned over to professional guardians, strangers to the kids.
Moreover, the court can take control over your children’s inheritance. Legally, the kids cannot access their assets until they turn 18. The court may appoint someone to manage the estate until that time, and that person has a great deal of influence over this property. They can make decisions about your child’s money, spending it on what they deem necessary or even paying themselves with it. By the time your child is of age, their inheritance can look much different from what you intended.
By using a will, you can name your child’s guardian. Family units are not always bound by blood. You may have a close friend who has been a third parent to your children, and giving them guardianship might be far more appropriate. A will can also give you a greater degree of control over your child’s inheritance. You can leave this property with someone you trust to enact your wishes.
At Levanti Law, LLC, our goal is to help make sure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you intended. We can help you vet potential guardians, and we can help protect your child’s inheritance.
We are available for all your estate planning needs, including:
- Living Wills
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Healthcare Power of Attorney
- And more!
For estate planning services in Benton and surrounding areas, reach out to us for a free consultation. Our number is (618) 717-4409, and you can contact us online.