Most people need an attorney to draw up their will. An attorney can also advise you whether you need a trust, and they can draft Powers of Attorney that are tailored to your needs. Here are three resources that may help you find an attorney who specializes in estate planning.
- Trusts and Estates: Selecting a Good Lawyer. Read the article at https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/trusts-estates/trusts-and-estates-selecting-a-good-lawyer.html
- Search for an attorney specializing in trusts and estates through the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel at https://www.actec.org/.
- You can also search for an attorney from the Martindale-Hubbell online directory at https://www.martindale.com/. For best results, type in both the specialty area (estate planning) AND state or city in the search bar.
- Some attorneys, accountants, and financial planners may hold the Accredited Estate Planner designation. You can search for them at http://www.naepc.org/designations/estate-planners/search#spec/All.
Small Estate Affidavit
If an estate is less than $100,000 and doesn’t include any real estate, the heirs can either streamline or avoid probate. Check Illinois Legal Aid for more information.
Power of Attorney for Property
You can complete a Power Of Attorney for Property yourself, using the statutory form provided by your state. For Illinois, download the statutory form using the following link:
- Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Property
- This document must have at least one witness and must be notarized.
Long term care insurance
Read about the likelihood of older adults needing long term care, and how long that care lasts on average at https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need. Genworth has done annual surveys around the country about the cost of long term care. Search for the cost of your care in the most recent data set (2021 as of August 3, 2022) at https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html.
For Medicaid rules regarding eligibility rules for income and assets, go to https://www.medicaidplanningassistance.org/medicaid-eligibility-illinois/.
There are three types of advance directives for health care. Illinois provides forms that you can use for each one. You can read about each type of advance directive and download the forms on the same webpage at https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/health-care-regulation/nursing-homes/advance-directives.html. You can also go directly to the forms or simply scroll toward the bottom of the page for them.
- Power of Attorney for Healthcare
- This document requires one witness. It does not have to be notarized.
- Living Will
- You can write your own Living Will if you prefer. But however you create it, it must be signed by two witnesses.
- Do-Not-Resuscitate/Practitioner Orders For Life-Sustaining Treatment
- This is a doctor’s order, and must be signed by you, your doctor, and a witness.