There’s a lot to consider when putting an estate plan together. Here, we’ve answered some common questions about the process so you can plan with confidence. 1. Why do I need a will? There are many reasons you should have a will, but the biggest reason is that without one, the state acts on a default will it has created. Most of the time that default will gives half of your assets to your spouse and half to your kids. If you want to change that and, say, leave all of your assets to your spouse, you need to get a will of your own. 2. How do I make sure the doctors do what I want if something happens to me? [callout] 50% of people don’t know their parents’ wishes in a life-or-death medical situation [copy] First, you need to tell someone you trust what your wishes are, and then you need to appoint them as your agent under a power of attorney for healthcare. This all needs to happen well before an illness or accident renders you unable to communicate, of course. 3. How much do I need to save for long-term care? [graphic] The average cost for end-of-life care during the final five years is over $200,000. [copy] For most people, relying on savings isn’t going to cut it. An elder law attorney can help you review all your options, like veteran benefits, Medicaid and Medicare, and stay on the right side of the law when using these benefits. 4. What’s the difference between a will and a trust? [graphic] A bowl of candy [copy] A will distributes your assets that you don’t hold in joint tenancy, don’t contain a beneficiary and are not held in trust. Under certain circumstances in Illinois, you may have go to probate court to administer some assets. A trust is like a bowl of candy in which the candy represents the assets placed in the trust. The trust contains instructions on who can the eat the candy and when, all without having to go to probate court. 5. What’s going to happen to my family’s house when I’m gone? [graphic] House icon [copy] It all depends on who owns it. If you own your home in joint tenancy with your spouse, they’ll inherit it automatically. If you own it in tenancy-in-common, potentially with a sibling or other family member, your will distributes your share of the house after going to probate court. If a trust owns the house, the trust will have instructions on who it will go to. Your elder law or estate planning attorney can help you answer these questions (and all the others) while working with you on your estate plan. Looking for more estate planning answers? Get in touch anytime at 630-782-1766 or