Wills/Powers of Attorney
The Estate Planning process at Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C. involves an initial consultation in which we will sit down and discuss your assets, your family situation, and your goals in planning your estate. The attorney will also answer any questions you may have.
Once you and the attorney have discussed your unique situation, and have decided how to proceed with your Estate Plan, the attorney will draft the required documents. Once completed, you will receive, via email, a copy of the documents to review. Once you have looked through the documents, you will return to the office to ask any questions you may have and sign the documents.
Some of the documents you will discuss with Ana M. Mencini & Associates, P.C. include:
This is created by statute in Illinois. The formal requirements for execution are: written; signed; witnessed; and you know what you are doing when you sign it.
Your physician must make your Living Will a part of your medical record and comply with its directions if you have a terminal condition. If the physician is unwilling to comply with your directions, then you must be transferred to a doctor who will comply with your directions. You may revoke your Living Will.
Durable Powers of Attorney
These are created by statute in Illinois. In a durable power of attorney, you authorize an agent to act for you if you are unable to make your own decisions. You should choose your agent carefully. You may revoke a Durable Power of Attorney. A court may limit your agent's powers.
Durable Power of Attorney for Property:
Your agent has broad powers to handle your property and financial affairs. You may name a successor agent. You may nominate your agent to serve as Guardian of your estate (your property) if you are disabled, and the court will appoint the agent as Guardian if the court finds that the appointment is in your best interests and welfare. If someone other than your agent is appointed as the Guardian of your estate, then the Guardian will have limited powers because the agent has superior authority to act.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:
The powers granted to an agent under a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care are very broad. In fact, a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care may allow your agent to direct that your nutrition and hydration be withheld. This is more extreme than the direction in a Living Will that only directs that death-delaying procedures be withheld.
The most important reason for you to have a Will is to distribute your property after your death according to your desires. If you do not have a Will, or if your valid Will does not make complete disposition of all your property, then your property, or that portion not covered by your Will, is distributed according to the intestate distribution laws of Illinois. You may provide for a survivor's special needs, such as a trust for a minor or for a disabled spouse.
You may name the person you want to be the Guardian for your minor children. You name the person you want to be the Executor of your estate.
You may revoke, change, or modify your Will with a codicil.
Your surviving spouse is protected if he or she receives little or nothing under your Will and may rearrange the distribution scheme. (You can’t completely disinherit your spouse if you have any probate property.) Your surviving spouse may renounce your Will and is entitled to receive one-half of your probate estate if you have no descendants, and one-third of your probate estate if you have descendants. Also, your surviving spouse is entitled to receive an amount, determined by the court, needed for her support for nine months after your death. A person who receives property from you may disclaim (refuse to accept) the property and rearrange the distribution scheme.
Important Note: Your Will does not control the distribution of the proceeds of your life insurance, retirement plans, or IRA accounts, which are distributed according to beneficiary designations (unless the proceeds or accounts are payable to your estate). Your Will does not control joint tenancy property, which passes by law to the surviving joint tenant after your death. Your Will does not control the distribution of property held in your Revocable Living Trust, or other trust for your benefit.