What a time to be alive! So many beautiful things are happening all around us. Our country seems to finally be pulling through an unprecedented year of health woes and social conflict. The crazy Illinois weather is finally warming up and the sun has come out of hiding. Friends and families are reuniting in person after a long time apart. We can’t help but feel joyful and grateful for all the positives at this time!
Much has changed in the past year and a half as a society and as individuals. 2020-2021 has reestablished the importance of taking care of ourselves and our loved ones. Now is a good time to reflect on what are the main priorities in your life. Maybe physical and mental health are at the top of that list, closely followed by your significant other and children. How can you create an environment that gives you a fighting chance to obtain an overall sense of wellbeing and care for your loved ones? A great starting point is by creating a Living Will.
“Advance care planning takes place over a lifetime. It changes as one’s goals and priorities in life change through different stages of life and health conditions. Reflection, discussion, and communication with one’s proxy and clinical professionals, along with family, friends, and advisors is essential to having one’s wishes understood and honored. These discussions should occur with patients/clients of all ages at all stages of life and health. ” American Bar Association
Many adults in our country do not have a will. Huge mistake! “About 70% of Americans are without advanced care plans and directives, such as living wills, for their families”, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even if you don’t have a Bill Gates-sized estate, it’s imperative that you acquire an estate lawyer and begin the process of establishing financial protection for your family. This is even more important if you have children under the age of 18. You will want to leave behind specific details on who you want to care for them in the unfortunate event of you and your spouse’s death. It’s better to be safe and over-prepared than sorry!
“The first step to creating a living will is to find someone you feel comfortable talking to who will know and carry out your wishes for end-of-life care as a proxy. Your directions for end-of-life care need to be reflections on your discussions with your doctor, your family and your attorney.” Forbes
Don’t have a living will yet? No need to worry! 23 Legal is here to make the process easy to understand and simple to accomplish together…
Living wills can give you and your loved ones a strong sense of security by reducing worry and fear of the unknown. Having a set plan for the future, no matter how scary, is always wise. We understand that people tend to shy away from creating living wills due to the fear of having difficult conversations about life and death. But did you know that living wills are more than legal documents read to the family upon the end of a relative?
Here’s a list of the many practical aspects of life that can be planned within a Living Will:
- Limiting estate taxes by setting up trust accounts in the name of beneficiaries
- Establishing a guardian for living dependents
- Naming an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the will
- Creating/updating beneficiaries on plans such as life insurance, IRAs and 401(k)s
- Setting up funeral arrangements
- Establishing annual gifting to qualified charitable and non-profit organizations to reduce the taxable estate
- Setting up a (POA) to direct other assets and investments
You may be surprised to learn that living wills can give an individual a legal voice to protect themselves and their loved ones when they may not be able to speak up for themselves.
Here are a few scenarios where a living will would come in handy….
“Making out a living will give you peace of mind. These are designed to give you the control to prevent more bad things from happening in tragic situations. Tragic situations are hard enough and you want to know that your family as well as yourself will be taken care of properly in such a situation. The last thing you want to do is be lazy and end up giving people outside of your family control over what happens to you under bad circumstances. Get your living will made today. It is so easy to put off but it is probably one of the best decisions you can make.” Living Trust Network
Protecting Your Medical Wishes and Personal Beliefs
In the unfortunate event where you, your partner, or both are injured and unable to speak up for yourselves, living wills are good to have prepared to ensure your medical and personal wishes are respected. Your partner may wish not to have blood transfusions, or limitations on how and if they may be medically resuscitated. Perhaps there is a religious specification for when medical needs are warranted?
Living wills can even be helpful when there needs to be clarity on the hospital you or your loved one prefers to receive medical care. Some people have preferences for where they are treated based on the hospital’s affiliation with a specific religious denomination or lack thereof. If you aren’t currently aware of some of these delicate but essential pieces of information, then it’s past time to have this conversation with your loved one and start the process of acquiring a living will. Having an attorney such as Ben Weaver to help you figure out what questions to ask your loved one can be tremendously helpful during this challenging task!
“Ben is a great real estate attorney. Very attentive to clients, good at guiding clients through a real estate transaction, and honest. Would recommend him!” Apr ’21, Palatine, IL
Protecting Your Children’s Future
It’s time to plan for the future – even if you aren’t around. Any parent wants their children to enjoy good health, stability, and joy. Children and teens will always require some form of protection from infancy to college years. Setting the groundwork for their success in life begins at home. For example, parents choosing the best schools, quality doctors, and even religious practices for a child, is all a part of a parent’s job setting their kids up for a bright future. Having these decisions legally documented is an intelligent way to ensure your child is raised in a manner aligned with your morals.
Do you remember how you spent money at 18? Or how difficult it is to maintain A+ college grades while keeping a part-time job? If your children’s inheritance becomes available before you are around to show them how to handle spending properly, you won’t have to fret. Part of protecting your child’s future may involve creating a detailed trust!
Your attorney can set up protocols regarding your children’s trust. Financial details, for example, you must graduate college to have full access to your trust fund. Or, this amount of money is allotted monthly/yearly. You may even implement a financial guardian for said child. “If you believe your child won’t be fully mature until 21 or older, you can apply this to the trust, and they will be required to use their power of attorney or appointed guardian(s) to gain access to their inheritance.”
Of course, you can’t control all life outcomes, but you can help guide your loved ones even if you’re not around or medically unavailable. When you create a living will with a trusted attorney, like Ben Weaver, it gives your family an additional layer of protection. Learn more about giving your children the invaluable gift of a living will and trust!
“Highly knowledgeable and professional. I can’t wait to work with him again!” Jan ’21, Chicago, IL
Protecting Your Spouse Financially
Help your spouse map out financial choices with a well-laid plan. There could be a lot weighing on your partner; while you’re incapacitated, knowing what your wishes are shouldn’t be one of their stresses. Help your significant other take the best care of you (and themselves) by setting up a clear and concise living will! With the knowledgeable assistance of an experienced attorney like Ben Weaver, you can create a financial plan for your partner to follow. Methods may include which accounts should be used for utility bills, which ones should be used for medical, and so forth. Living wills are a great way to guide your partner through some challenging times. Find out how your family can benefit from estate planning with 23 Legal!
“There are many reasons to make a living will: to give guidance to your doctors and health care surrogates, provide clarity and closure to your loved ones, prevent conflict or disagreements among family members, and limit the emotional burden on your closest people at the time of your death. Most important is that you remain the captain of your own ship, with the authority to dictate how you want to live and die. Considering that the majority of dying people are unconscious, in distress, or otherwise not able to speak, the living will serves as your voice when you may not have one.” AARP
Protecting Your Property and Other Assets
Protecting your property is vital if you have a spouse, children, or large family. A living will protect properties you previously inherited and ensure that there are clear instructions for care of the property left for those that survive you. You can connect detailed and specific wishes for each property you own – based on state legislation. Details may include: you don’t want your home sold, only rented out, or donated to an organization that is meaningful to you. These specific details are a property owner’s rights!
23 Legal is an expert in the laws of probate; the paperwork that is the foundation of the administration of your estate. As a lawyer who specializes in wills and estates, we want to remove any insecurity a family might have over the administration of your capital. After a lifetime of hard work, investing, saving and creating wealth, the last thing you want is for the government to take it all back. An estate planning attorney can protect you and your many financial assets!
“Ben was friendly and he was available to provide you the required clarification and prompt in responding to the phone calls.” May ’21, Schaumburg, IL
Attorney Ben Weaver is here to guide you through the process of planning your estate and creating a living will!
No one wants to focus on possible negative situations, but don’t let fear hinder you from protecting assets and loved ones. Living wills are structured legal insurances created by you for the protection of those you love the most. If you can provide your loved ones with direction and support during challenging situations, their experience will be less complicated and more manageable during a hard time.
Hiring a reputable real estate lawyer such as Ben Weaver is a wise investment that your future self and loved ones will thank you for. Be empowered by having a knowledgeable attorney by your side! Curious about estate planning? Read our guide to learn more!
Creating a legal plan of action will provide them with the gift of worrying less about the future and the ability to enjoy what matters, their time with you. And it will give you peace of mind knowing everything is taken care of!
Please feel free to contact us for assistance or with any questions you have. Click here to read 5-star client reviews!
Why Choose 23 Legal
23 Legal offers Real Estate and Estate Planning legal services to individuals, families, community associations and small business owners throughout Chicagoland. We know how intimidating “the law” can be. In fact, when most people think of law offices, they think of stuffy leather chairs, huge wooden desks and pompous lawyers who charge outrageous fees. That’s not us! We believe in 1-to-1; the same lawyer should work with you all the way through. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where Ben comes in! We are great listeners; more than that, we are lawyers who believe that our clients always come first.