DIFFICULTY: Legal may be required is you possess substantial assets

Initial Filing Fee: There is no filing fee related to creating a will

A will is a written document that controls how a person’s property is distributed after they die. In Illinois, there are certain requirements that a will must meet in order to be deemed as legitimate. A person making a will must be 18 years old and be of sound mind and memory. A legitimate will must be in writing. In Illinois, there is no such thing as an oral will. In order to be viewed as final and legitimate a will must be signed by the maker and witnessed by two people. It is important to note that persons who are beneficiaries under the will cannot serve as witnesses. Therefore, if someone is to receive property in the will they cannot be witnesses. A will may be revoked or changed at any time before the death of the maker. This usually requires a written change with the same witness requirements as the original will.

Step 1: Plan Your Will

Planning your will is the most important part of the process. In planning your will, it is important to consider how you want your affairs to be handled. Think about the needs of your surviving family and specific requests you may have regarding how your estate is to be handled. All of this information and any specific instructions must be clearly established in your will. It is crucial that nothing be left to interpretation, which will lead to confusion and potential litigation.

Step 2: Finalize Your Will

To finalize your will in Illinois you must sign your will in front of two witnesses. In Illinois, you do not need to notarize your will; however if notarized your will be deemed self-proving which means the court can accept the will without contacting the witnesses who signed it. There is no need to file your will with the Court most people keep it in a safe place where their relatives can find it when needed. Filing the will with the Court has the advantage of making sure an official copy is always available.

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