How to Ensure Your Property is Properly Distributed When You Pass Away

Everyone procrastinates. The idea that uncompleted tasks can be taken care of at a later date pervades home and work life. However, one task should not be put off: estate planning.

Many people wrongly assume that estate planning is only for the sick or elderly. Not many people think about the end of their life, and if you’re inevitably caught unprepared, your intended beneficiaries could suffer as a result. Without proper estate planning documents in place, your estate will go to probate after your death: at that point, you lose control over the distribution of your property, instead handing that task over to the court. Further, your estate could be significantly diminished because of taxes that occur during the probate process.

To ensure that your property is properly distributed after you pass away, consider the following tips:

Take an inventory of your assets

To be able to properly distribute your property, you first need to know exactly what you have. Taking a detailed inventory that includes the item name, value, and any relevant identifying information, such as serial numbers, gives you the foundation from which you can build an effective estate plan.

Create a Will or other estate planning document

The most important step you can take to ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes is to create an estate planning document prior to your death. For most people, this will be a Will, although others may benefit more from a Trust. Regardless of the type of document you create, by being specific as possible about your wishes, including property distribution, you will safeguard against the property being distributed in any other way aside from your wishes. Also, by having a Will or other document in place, your estate is less likely to end up in probate court.

Choose a trusted Executor

The Executor of your will is an important person: their job is to make sure that your wishes as outlined in your Will are carried out. This includes ensuring that specific property is given to the right people, according to your wishes. An Executor can be a friend, family member, or someone else; the most important thing is that they are trustworthy and responsible.

Consult an experienced estate planning attorney

Estate planning can be complex and if mistakes are made in your estate planning documents, they could be thrown out, thus subjecting your estate to probate court. With the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your Will is created correctly and complies with all relevant state laws.

Contact us for all of your Illinois estate planning needs

At Lake Cook Legal Solutions, we understand the importance of proper estate planning before you pass away. For more information on how our experienced legal team can help you ensure that your property is distributed properly after your death, visit us online at

Written by Lake Cook Legal Solutions, LLC

Lake Cook Legal Solutions, LLC

Lake Cook Legal Solutions has been helping people throughout Lake, Cook, McHenry, and DuPage counties since 2012. We focus our practice on matters involving Illinois families—namely Family Law and Estate Planning.